Email Scandals

Listserv.gifFrom one of our tipsters:
Richard Rosenbaum, president of Greenburg Traurig, made the following group email faux pas. He used the company listserv to send two emails soliciting contributions for the McCain campaign, proving that law students aren’t the only bumbling souls who screw up listserv etiquette. From Rosenbaum’s first email:

“As we have said on a number of other occasions, our firm does not support any particular presidential candidates as a firm. We are a business catering to a wide range of clients and employing lawyers and staff with a wide variety of interests and preferences in the political arena…”

Blah blah blah, a bunch of politically correct qualifiers, then BANG! The money-grab:

“I have recently been named a National Co-Chair of Senator McCain’s 2008 presidential campaign. As has previously been the case, over the next several months I will be working alongside several other leaders from the American business and legal communities to personally solicit contributions and other political support for Senator McCain’s presidential campaign.”

Now, of course, Rosenbaum goes on to say that participation is voluntary, etc. But is it really appropriate for a firm President to use group email to solicit campaign funds?
More, after the jump.

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “Campaign Contributions and Listervs”

It’s not just Pepper Hamilton. Email screw-ups are committed by even the most renowned lawyers — like longtime Skadden Arps partner Sheila Birnbaum, a living legend of the product liability defense bar. As we previously wrote, “Birnbaum, who heads Skadden’s Complex Mass Tort and Insurance Group, has a nickname reflecting her expertise: ‘The Queen of Toxic Torts.’”

From the Insurance Coverage Blog:

Some of [Mississippi Attorney General] Jim Hood’s proneness to gaffes must have rubbed off on Sheila Birnbaum of Skadden, Arps, a lead counsel for State Farm, when she was down in Mississippi to hear Hood testify February 6….

Birnbaum accidentally replied to all the people on the distribution list for an e-mail Hood’s press spokeswoman sent out this morning to a number of people, including reporters. Birnbaum thought she was responding to other State Farm lawyers.

Ah, the perils of “reply all.” Perhaps a CLE course should be given on how to use it properly?

(Part of the class could be devoted to client confidentiality issues. I Can Haz Ethics Credits?)

P.S. Birnbaum, by the way, does very nicely for herself. Back in May 2001, Forbes published an interesting list of some of the country’s highest-paid corporate lawyers. Birnbaum reportedly earned $3.8 million a year — and that was back in 2000-2001, before the latest Biglaw boom.

State Farm attorney mistakenly sends query about having Hood held in contempt to reporters, Hood’s press spokesperson [Insurance Coverage Blog]
Email May Hurt State Farm, Miss. Truce [AP via Forbes]
Highest Paid Corporate Lawyers – 2001 [Forbes]
Sheila L. Birnbaum [Skadden]

Earlier: ATL Practice Pointer: When Emailing Super-Sensitive Settlement Information, Double Check the Recipient List
Separated at Birth: Sheila Birnbaum and Harold Koh?

William and Mary Marshall Wythe School of Law Above the Law blog.jpgWe love internecine warfare at law schools and in other academic settings. As the old saying goes — our cursory Googling doesn’t immediately generate the exact wording or source, so we’ll paraphrase — fights in academia are so vicious because the stakes are so small.

As Hillary and Barack do battle in Virginia today, so too do administrators at William and Mary. From a tipster at William & Mary School of Law (interesting factoid: it’s one of the oldest law schools in the country):

Today the William and Mary Board of Visitors decided not to renew William and Mary President Gene Nichol’s contract. Nichols sent out a pretty amazing email to all students about his resignation, and Michael Powell, former FCC Chairman and Rector of W&M, sent a response. Needless to say, people are talking of nothing else today.

To make the story even better, the law school dean, Taylor Reveley, is now serving as President of W&M. Nichols is joining the law school staff, where his wife is also a professor.

Check out the messages — Gene Nichol’s defiant departure email, claiming he was ousted due to ideological reasons, and Michael Powell’s steadfast denial that the non-renewal was based on ideology — after the jump.

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “Turmoil at William & Mary – Law School Dean Takes Over as President”

email e-mail small message microsoft outlook Above the Law.JPGBut it didn’t result in a front-page New York Times story on the Zyprexa settlement talks. Apparently reporter Alex Berenson had independent knowledge of the settlement negotiations, and this knowledge was the basis for his story. Details over at Drug and Device Law.
In our brief and breezy post, we never claimed that the email error triggered the NYT story. But we did link to other sources that mistakenly suggested this. So if you read the original post, be sure to read this correction / clarification.
Update: Actually, the correction may itself require correction (or at least clarification). See here.
It Wasn’t Pepper’s Fault! Berenson Confirms [Drug and Device Law]
Earlier: ATL Practice Pointer: When Emailing Super-Sensitive Settlement Information, Double Check the Recipient List

email e-mail small message microsoft outlook Above the Law.JPGOr triple check, or quadruple check. Especially when one of the lawyers involved in the case has the same last name as a New York Times reporter.
Assuming the email system in question was Microsoft Outlook, we imagine the panicked Pepper Hamilton lawyer trying to invoke the amusingly ineffectual “Recall” function (à la Judge Marsha Berzon).
Also, we’re thinking of getting our last name legally changed to “Boies.”
Update: As it turns out, Alex Berenson and Brad Berenson are cousins. Small world!
Further Update: This post is subject to a quasi-correction / clarification. See here.
Still Further Update: Actually, the quasi-correction may itself require correction (or at least clarification). See here.
What’s in a Name? Alex Berenson (the crusading reporter) vs. Bradford Berenson (the high-powered attorney). [Starkman & Associates]
Lilly’s $1 Billion E-Mailstrom [Portfolio]
How to Recall an E-mail in Microsoft Outlook [eHow.com]

supreme court small with heart above the law atl.JPGTo San Francisco, apparently, to clerk on the Ninth Circuit.
We hope that the author of this email is clerking for one of court’s slave-driver judges. He needs to be kept busy, so he won’t have time for any more literary endeavors.
“Pleaded” or “pled” may be a matter of personal preference. But turns of phrase like “I had to have breakfast with my unit” and “the inadequate salve of an orgasm” ought to be criminalized — even in the Ninth Circuit.
Correction: We’ve heard from the woman who received the email. As it turns out, she works for the Ninth Circuit; the sender does not (although he is an attorney, in southern California). She construes the references to the Ninth Circuit to mean “that the job he currently has is *his version* of the Ninth Circuit — that is, his dream job.”
“It Was A Risk — Dating You. Risking My Reputation. Where Was Respect For That?” [Jezebel]

Susan Estrich Fox News Quinn Emanuel Supreme Court clerk Above the Law blog.jpgMore news from one of ATL’s favorite law firms, Quinn Emanuel. See Gawker and Radar.
If your friends are as fabulous as Susan Estrich’s, why hide them behind a bcc?
Query: Could this actually be a brilliant viral marketing ploy? Has Susan Estrich harnessed the power of the blogosphere to get all the world to read her paean to QE?
The Art Of The ‘To’ Line [Gawker]
Fox News’ Susan Estrich Has a New Job [Radar Online via Big Law Board]

Chuck Rosenthal District Attorney Charles Rosenthal Fatal Overdose Above the Law blog.JPGWe love tales of misbehaving DAs. And this one is a doozy. From the Houston Chronicle:

New e-mails released Tuesday show District Attorney Chuck Rosenthal sent and received racist jokes and strategized with political consultants and colleagues about his re-election campaign on his county e-mail account.

Also within the correspondence obtained Tuesday by the Houston Chronicle were numerous sexually explicit images. It was unclear, however, if Rosenthal ever forwarded those files.

Those were just for his personal wank collection.

Among e-mails that concerned Woodfill were video clips of nudity and sex acts and a racist joke forwarded by Rosenthal that compares former President Bill Clinton to a black man. The e-mail says Clinton played the saxophone, smoked marijuana and gets a check from the government each month.

Pot always struck us as more of a white person’s drug, but whatever.

Also included within the e-mails is heavy traffic between Rosenthal and Sam Siegler, Rosenthal’s physician and the husband of Kelly Siegler, who is running for district attorney. In one e-mail from Sam Siegler to Rosenthal, an attached video shows women having their breasts exposed after men forcibly pulled down their blouses in public. The video called the act “sharking.”

Kelly Siegler dismissed her husband’s e-mails. “He cusses like a sailor and his sense of humor is crude, to put it mildly,” she said. “It’s his computer and what he does at work is his business. He’s the boss.”

Stand by your man, Kelly. As long as there’s no kiddie porn in those emails, it’s all good.
Oh, and Rosenthal also sent “intimate e-mails to his executive secretary.” More details, after the jump.

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “Lawyer of the Day: Chuck Rosenthal”

The firm of Dewey Ballantine was never known for being particularly PC. From a 2004 article by Anthony Lin, for the New York Law Journal:

Nearly one year after lawyers at Dewey Ballantine infuriated members of the Asian-American community by performing a stereotype-laden parody song at their annual dinner, the law firm is again dealing with allegations of racial insensitivity….

On Monday, an employee sent a firmwide e-mail advertising the availability of some puppies for adoption. Douglas Getter, a London-based American who heads Dewey Ballantine’s European mergers and acquisitions practice then sent a firmwide reply.

“Please don’t let these puppies go to a Chinese restaurant!” Getter wrote in his e-mail.

Adolf Hitler Dewey LeBoeuf Zieg Heil Sieg Heil Above the Law blog.jpgNow Dewey has merged with LeBoeuf Lamb. Happily, it appears their firm cultures are a good match. Check out this email exchange appearing below — and note that Partner X came from the LeBoeuf Lamb side of the marriage….

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “Dewey & LeBoeuf: A Bunch of Nazis?”

New York University Law School NYU Law School Above the Law.JPGLaw school list serve trainwrecks are a staple here at ATL. We’ve written about several — see, e.g., Cumberland Law School; Washington University School of Law — and they tend to be popular with readers.
A student at NYU Law School brought a recent listserv debacle to our attention:

[This listserve controversy] touches on many law school and other legal topics. They include grades, finals, state vs. T14 schools, Jesus, the Constitution, Jesus vs. the Constitution, and [people] who were arrested at Harvard [see April 24, 2:21 AM entry] and feel the need to announce it to the whole law school.

Perhaps it’s just exam stress all around, but having just taken my crim pro final earlier today, the last bit made things extra hilarious.

The reader then included several emails from the thread. But fortunately for us, another NYU law student already collected and posted them over here (which saves us the trouble of cutting and pasting).
More after the jump.

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “Because Listserv Clusterf**ks Happen at Top Five Schools, Too”

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