Email Scandals

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”

* You’ve got mail! And you better hold on to it. [CNN]
* Both sides shooting to get SCOTUS to hear D.C. gun case. [New York Times]
* Milberg Weiss asking for home court advantage in trial. [WSJ Law Blog]
* Can anybody do anything based on the Mitchell Report? [Sports Illustrated]

Some etiquette tips for law school deans:

peanut Mr Peanut warning contains peanuts you will die Above the Law blog.jpg1. If you send one of your students to another law school, for a year-long stint as a visiting student, don’t “apologize” for it — even if that student has a severe peanut allergy, requiring the receiving school to “peanut-proof” itself for the year.

2. If you really must issue an “apology,” do so by phone or in person, not by email.

3. If you really must issue an “apology” by email, send it to the individual dean. Do not send it to a listserv consisting of the deans of ABA-accredited law schools.

Because it might get leaked to ATL:
peanut allergy email snafu Above the Law blog.jpg
ATL readers: Please take this opportunity to engage in a spirited debate over whether schools, airlines, and other institutions go too far — or not far enough — in accommodating people with extreme food allergies. Thank you.Peanut Girl Dean Mark Sargent Villanova University School of Law.jpg

Shipman Goodwin LLP Above the Law blog.jpgAh, the perils of office romance. This was passed along to us by a tipster, who wrote: “This new lawsuit involving one of Connecticut’s largest and oldest firms caught my eye this morning.”

Stephanie Ancillai; Thomas Diascro v. Michael Lamoureux

10/29/2007 HHD-CV07-5014300-S

Intentional infliction of emotional distress. Plaintiff Ancillai broke off relationship with defendant, who in turn sent emails to plaintiff and co-plaintiff’s superiors at Shipman and Goodwin exposing their romantic relationship. As a result of the emails, both plaintiff and co-plaintiff lost their jobs in the marketing department of the law firm.

Sounds interesting. If you get your hands on the Complaint, please feel free to send it our way.

Volkswagen Fahrvergnügen Porsche Above the Law blog.jpg* Some Fahrvergnügen for Porsche, courtesy of the European Court of Justice. [How Appealing (linkwrap)]
* Surprise surprise: a Yale law professor has issues with Michael Mukasey. Professor (and novelist) Jed Rubenfeld questions the nominee’s views of executive power. [New York Times via WSJ Law Blog]
* If confirmed, Mukasey has his work cut out for him. “Clearly the Justice Department has lost its mojo,” said WilmerHale partner Reginald Brown. [Legal Times]
* Obama criticizes Hillary in Iowa mailing. [Politico via Drudge Report]
* A (very close) vote is expected this week on Leslie Southwick’s Fifth Circuit nomination.
[Fox News via How Appealing]
Additional links, after the jump.

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “Morning Docket: 10.23.07″

Skadden Arps Slate Meagher Flom Abovethelaw Above the Law online legal tabloid.jpgThat’s the debate currently raging in the Los Angeles office of Skadden. It was triggered by some exuberant, multicolored emails from a Gay Colleague, promoting the Skadden LA AIDS Walk team.
From the delicious (but sporadically updated) Skadden Insider:

[T]he e-mails weren’t well received by everyone because “they are pretty aggressive and unprofessional. Just the tone of voice, the five thousand colors, the naming of names of who contributed and who didn’t.”

Our source continued: “And of course, some ignorant fools are going around saying, “I don’t go around calling myself the ‘straight associate’! Anyway, it was pretty funny. It was a gay gay gay Friday.”

Check out the full post, which reprints the (literally) colorful email, over here.
And read about another instance of public shaming at Skadden, after the jump.

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “The Skadden Gays: Out and Proud, or Tacky and Loud?”

email e-mail message microsoft outlook Above the Law.jpgLast week, USA Today ran an article about “Email-Free Fridays” or “Zero Email Fridays.” Earlier this week, the Wall Street Journal ran pretty much the same article.
But it’s an interesting piece, and it relates to an issue that many of us confront: email overload. The problem is especially acute for lawyers at large law firms, but it’s not limited to their ranks.
From the WSJ:

A growing number of employers, including U.S. Cellular, Deloitte & Touche and Intel, are imposing or trying out “no email” Fridays or weekends. While the bans typically allow emailing clients and customers or responding to urgent matters, the normal flow of routine internal email is halted. Violators are hit with token fines, or just called out by the boss.

The limits aim to encourage more face-to-face and phone contact with customers and co-workers, raise productivity or just give employees a reprieve from the ever-rising email tide. Emails sent by individual corporate users are projected to increase 27% this year, to an average of 47 a day, up from 37 in 2006…. And one-third of users feel stressed by heavy email volume, according to a 2007 study…. Many check email as often as 30 to 40 times an hour, the study showed.

Managers complain that rather than confronting problems, employees use email to avoid them by passing issues back and forth in long message strings, like a hot potato. Email reduces face-to-face contact among co-workers and clients; terse, poorly phrased messages further strain those relationships. And it is spilling into weekends, chaining employees to computers when they should be relaxing.

So, are email-free Fridays a brilliant idea? Or is this policy just not feasible? Take our poll:


P.S. We’re hopelessly behind in our email. After we deal with a message, we file or delete it, leaving only pending items in our inbox. Right now our inbox contains 2,471 pending items.
Unfortunately, due to the sheer volume of email we receive, we can’t respond personally to every message. If your email does require a response, and you haven’t heard from us for a while, please email us again, by way of friendly reminder. Or here’s a novel concept: try calling!
Fridays go from casual to e-mail-free [USA Today]
A Day Without Email Is Like… [Wall Street Journal]

Tomorrow is a very big day for almost 20 California lawyers. From Blogonaut:

Qualcomm Qualcom Above the Law blog.jpgA federal district court has ordered 14 California lawyers to explain why they should not be sanctioned for their “exceptional misconduct” on behalf of Qualcomm in a lawsuit that the San Diego wireless company lost. All of the lawyers subject to the order were from the Cupertino law firm of Day Casebeer Madrid & Batchelder or the Heller Ehrman law firm’s offices in Menlo Park and San Diego, the San Diego Tribune is reporting.

Five additional lawyers have been drawn into the proceedings since the order was issued, so the fate of 19 attorneys rests on the outcome of an October 12, 2007, 9:30 a.m. hearing before U.S. Magistrate Barbara Major, the newspaper reports.

We previously wrote about the underlying discovery snafu over here.
Both Heller Ehrman and Day Casebeer have been the subject of gossip recently. Last month, Heller Ehrman was rumored to be carrying out staff layoffs in California (believed to affect up to 90 people). If you know anything about this, please email us.
Update: Oops, sorry, don’t know how we missed this article from The Recorder, reporting on Heller axing 65 administrative staff positions nationwide. No attorneys were laid off.
As for Day Casebeer, rumor had it that they were rescinding offers to incoming associates. But it appears that this was inaccurate, as rumors sometimes are. When we contacted the firm, they had this comment:

We are delighted that eight new associates will join us this Fall and that two have already started work. It’s a record class for us. Far from rescinding any offers, we remain very interested in resumes from others interested in joining our practice.

Especially if you’re experienced in electronic data discovery.
Federal Court Brings Written Charges of “Exceptional Misconduct” Against 14 Lawyers [Blogonaut]
19 lawyers face sanction hearing [San Diego Union-Tribune]
Recovered Emails Bedevil Qualcomm in Court [Wall Street Journal]
Heller Says Slowdown Not Behind Layoffs [The Recorder via Law.com]
Earlier: Benchslap of the Day: The Qualcomm Debacle

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