Email Scandals

The $215,000 engagement ring.

Voter turnout in our October Lawyer of the Month poll was not high: only 453 votes were cast. In the end, DLA Piper partner Laura Flippin, who allegedly blew a .253 on a breathalyzer test, narrowly edged out Cadwalader partner Ira Schacter, who reportedly bought a $215,000 engagement ring for his Playboy-bunny ex-fiancée — while refusing to pay for his teenage daughter’s $12,000 hearing aids.

A mere 11 votes separated the winner and the runner-up. Given the closeness of the vote, maybe Laura Flippin should have focused more on voter turnout, to boost the tallies of her rivals.

It seems that Ira Schacter did just that. Check this out….

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I am a maverick and a reformer so I started a new program for U of I undergrads to apply in their junior year and we don’t require the LSAT. We have additional essays and an interview instead. That way, I can trap about 20 of the little bastards with high GPA’s that count and no LSAT score to count against my median. It is quite ingenious.

Paul Pless, former dean of admissions at the University of Illinois College of Law, in a 2008 email about iLEAP, a program that offered early admission to University of Illinois undergraduates with high GPAs (and no LSAT scores).

(The reaction of the other party to the correspondence, after the jump.)

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Judge William Adams

* Remember Judge William Adams, the Texas state court judge who was reportedly videotaped in the act of beating his daughter, Hillary Adams? He has now commented on the situation (and so has his ex-wife, Hallie Adams). [KZTV.com]

* And here is Kashmir Hill’s take on the whole sad situation. [Not-So Private Parts / Forbes]

* Members of the law review at GW Law School have issued a comment on the recent email controversy — which is impressive! (Aside: lighten up, guys; it’s all in good fun.) [Nota Bene]

* FYI, if you have problems with anonymous comments here at Above the Law, you should know that we’re having an internal discussion about possibly changing our system. [What About Clients?]

* Beating a dead horse isn’t illegal. Doing what this woman did to a dead horse isn’t illegal. Sucks to be a dead horse. [Daily Mail]

* Our friend Joseph Rakofsky makes it into the Urban Dictionary. [The Trial Warrior; Legal Skills Prof Blog]

* Says Elie: “Some say WVU’s lawsuit against the Big East reflects ‘arrogance.’ The real arrogance is how Notre Dame refuses to come in and save the conference.” [Legal Blitz]

* Swordplay: it’s all fun and games until someone’s intestines spill out of his abdomen. [CBS 3 - Springfield]

Those blinking lights are important. Seriously.

I’ve been writing about electronic discovery for almost three years now. I’ve learned that most of the time, it’s not worth trying to interest non-attorneys in the subject. My friends’, family’s, and girlfriend’s eyes glaze over pretty quickly when I started mentioning the EDRM model or document review.

So when I saw the story early this morning about big e-discovery news in the litigation following a tragic plane crash, at first I thought I had misread something.

On February 12, 2009, Colgan Air Flight 3407 crashed near Buffalo Niagara International Airport in New York, killing 50 people. Later that year, authorities blamed pilot error for the crash. Unsurprisingly, families of the victims have sued the airline for failing to provide trained, capable, and rested pilots. This week, attorneys for the families released internal company e-mails that appear to show Colgan knew the pilot of the doomed flight was having serious problems.

What do the e-mails have to say?

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We enjoy giving our readers the occasional peek behind the Biglaw curtain. Last month, for example, we shared with you the internal interview manual that Sullivan & Cromwell provides to its attorneys who conduct on-campus interviews at law schools.

Today, in a similar spirit, we take an inside look at the annual review process for attorneys at Skadden Arps. We’re into the fourth quarter of 2011, so these reviews are not far away.

In this special report, we’ll provide general observations on the Skadden review process, highlight noteworthy comments from leaked attorney evaluations, and show you a few reviews in their entirety (redacted to remove lawyer and client names). This information should interest Biglaw associates who want to know what partners look for junior lawyers, and it should also appeal to partners at other firms who want ideas on how to structure annual reviews.

If you’re interested in learning more about performance reviews at one of the world’s biggest and best law firms, please keep reading….

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Last month, we brought you the story of a student bar association dust up at NYU Law School.

The NYU SBA Treasurer, whom we called “Cashing Out,” resigned her position. The SBA President, “Party Law,” wrote an email to the entire student body, accusing the treasurer of making a lot of errors. The treasurer responded, accusing the SBA President of misappropriating funds.

OH MY GOD, WHAT’S THAT BEHIND YOU????

Just kidding. Just trying to keep you awake during this riveting retelling of accounting inconsistencies by two self-important NYU kids who should be preparing for callbacks now.

You’d think something of this magnitude would just kind of fade into the background, but the NYU administration decided to give this thing new life. The administration conducted an investigation into the dispute.

And the administration is coming down on the side of Party Law….

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I write about hacking and data security periodically, even though sometimes I get the feeling legal professionals try hard not to think about the subjects. But the stories in this realm bear repeating. Corporate data security is a real concern for many, many corporate attorneys, and especially in-house counsel.

Data security problems used to stem most frequently from weak firewalls or unencrypted equipment. But more and more, the biggest sources of risk and liability are just dumb or technologically overeager employees.

What kind of computer trouble are you and everyone you know getting your company or firm into? Let’s see….

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I feel like we have this story every fall. Every year, new 1Ls get to law school campuses and invariably, some of them quickly look around to see which boots are most in need of licking. The first few weeks they kiss so much faculty ass they look like they’re applying for tenure. And right around now, they start looking for fellow students to suck up to.

Well, there’s a way to suck up to fellow students, and usually kissing butt requires you to be in the same room as your betters. Cold, unsolicited emailing — while fine for general networking — is almost always the wrong way to approach your peers. We’ve explained this to you before.

If you find yourself sending out cold, unsolicited, mass emails, well, welcome to Above the Law, little 1Ls….

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Yesterday we received an email with the following subject line: “the problem with tenure.” Now, I actually think that this tip illustrates the problem with law students and the classic awesomeness of tenure, but I’ll let you be the judge of that.

What we can at least agree on is that we have a story about a law professor executing a stern, verbal smackdown of a law student who tried to go over the professor’s head to complain.

Let this just be a reminder to everybody that they need to respect the chain of command….

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With offer season well under way, some law students may be wondering how to tell the world that they’ve landed summer associate jobs without sounding like complete braggarts. These law students must have read a Miss Manners book or two, because thinking about the feelings of others is the polite thing to do.

Other law students just don’t care about trampling on the self-esteem of classmates. “Sorry about your tiny pink feelings, but I got an offer.” That was way harsh, Tai.

There is just one more category of law student: the law student who feels only slightly guilty bragging about a job offer, so he thinks up a creative way to broach the subject with peers. And one law student at a leading law school has got this method of breaking the news about offers on lock….

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