Family Law

On its face, this looks like a rather straightforward business card for one James A.W. Mahon, a Canadian divorce lawyer up in the Yukon:
James AW Mahon divorce lawyer business card 1.jpg
But perhaps there’s a catch, eh?

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Casey Greenfield Jeffrey Toobin Jeff Toobin.jpgOne blogger teed up a story about celebrated legal and political journalist Jeffrey Toobin being sued for paternity with this quip: “This Might be Scandalous If Anyone Watched CNN.”

But people also read the New Yorker, where Toobin is a longtime legal correspondent, as well as Toobin’s bestselling books — including, most recently, The Nine: Inside the Secret World of the Supreme Court.

So let’s get inside the not-so-secret world of Jeff Toobin and Casey Greenfield — daughter of television personality Jeff Greenfield and an associate at Gibson Dunn (so there’s a Biglaw connection here too). From the New York Daily News:

One of the media elite’s most whispered-about scandals went public Wednesday when married CNN correspondent Jeffrey Toobin squared off with a woman who says he’s the father of her baby.
Yale-educated lawyer Casey Greenfield — the daughter of eminent CBS News analyst Jeff Greenfield — had a chilly faceoff with Toobin in Manhattan Family Court.

Watch out, Jeff: Casey practices in litigation at Gibson Dunn, recently named by the American Lawyer as Litigation Department of the Year. And if this litigatrix loses, she might take it to a higher court — perhaps aided by GDC’s stellar appellate practice. (Thanks to Ted Olson’s involvement in the Proposition 8 case, Gibson lawyers are acquiring expertise in family and matrimonial law.)

More discussion — plus a better photo of Casey Greenfield, who’s quite attractive — after the jump.

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “Legal Eagles Mate: But Who Will Take Care of the Eaglet?
Jeffrey Toobin Taken to Family Court by Gibson Dunn Associate.

Tiger Woods Rachel Uchitel Elin Nordegren.jpgUPDATE (3:07): The Florida Highway Patrol (FHP) just held a press conference. FHP announced that Tiger Woods was found “at fault” in his traffic accident, guilty of careless driving. The fine is $164 and four points on his driving record. This ends the Florida Highway Patrol’s investigation.
FHP determined “that there was insufficient evidence to issue a subpoena for any further evidence. There are no claims of domestic violence by any individual.”
Hmm… No evidence, you say? It looks like not talking was in fact the smart thing to do.
* * * * * * * * *
Lawyers, members of the bar, law students, and others with a smattering of legal training: we all have a duty to stand up and defend Tiger Woods’s decision to keep his mouth shut. The mainstream media has this story completely wrong, and it is up to us — those blessed with a basic understanding of criminal jurisprudence — to educate the public about why Tiger is staying silent. We must explain to our mothers and fathers and doormen and bodega owners that Tiger probably has to keep his mouth shut, in order to keep his wife out of jail.
I’ve explained elsewhere that we are looking at a potential domestic violence situation. If some of the reports are true, Elin Nordegren attacked her husband, allegedly threatening him with a golf club.
Now this is the part that laypeople seem to be having difficulty grasping. Just because Tiger is a man doesn’t mean he gets to decide whether or not his wife gets prosecuted for domestic violence. Criminal law doesn’t work that way. If the police find that Elin Nordegren assaulted Tiger, then this process gets taken out of Tiger’s hands. Right now, shutting up is the only thing Tiger can do if he wants to retain a modicum of control over the situation.
Especially in Florida.
More details, after the jump.

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Star Wars divorce card front.jpgLet’s return to our series of open threads on small law firms in different practice areas. We’ve covered seven fields so far; check them out here.
The latest topic to tackle: FAMILY LAW. This is the area of law that our somewhat cantankerous, dearly departed grandmother urged us to enter. She was firmly convinced that when a couple splits up, the divorce lawyers end up with all the couple’s money.
But not everyone is a fan of this practice area. Dahlia Lithwick, Slate’s fabulous and funny Supreme Court correspondent, previously practiced family law at a small firm in Reno, Nevada. It seems that she found divorce law depressing rather than enriching.
Here’s what Lithwick said during a talk at UVA Law School last year, when we asked what led her to move from practicing law to writing about it:

“One thing that really helps is doing doing divorce law.” After representing clients in their “bickering over the pots and pans,” she said, everything else starts to look much more attractive.

That seems like a rather negative take on the field, doesn’t it? In fairness to family law, it has its upsides.
Find out the advantages of this field — and check out the inside of this greeting card (above right), courtesy of the folks at Pig Spigot — after the jump.

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Divorce Mass alimony.jpgBoston Magazine has a great article about alimony in Massachusetts. By the time you’re done reading it, you’ll be willing to stay in a dead-end marriage rather than getting divorced in Massachusetts:

When an alimony case comes up before a judge, the focus is almost exclusively on the wealthier ex-spouse’s ability to shell out, and hardly ever on the recipient’s ability to fund his or her own needs. … But unlike in most states–and every other state in New England–here judges historically do not assume any income for the recipient, even if he or she is able to work but chooses not to. (In fact, Massachusetts’ alimony system doesn’t even conform with state rules for other areas of family law. In child support cases, recent reforms explicitly encourage the judge to impute potential income to a recipient if the judge believes the recipient is shirking higher-paying work.)
For all this, what really sticks in the craw of would-be reformers is that alimony in Massachusetts is so often a burden without end…. [I]n Massachusetts: The only way judges here will set a cutoff for alimony is if it is tied to a specific event, like the recipient’s remarriage, death, or new inheritance. And since judges cannot predict what a recipient’s financial circumstances will be at a point in the future, most simply award indefinite alimony and leave it to the payor to seek modification. The vast majority of judges who do want to set a duration get overturned on appeal, so few ever try.

Ouch. Do gays and lesbians in Massachusetts really want to sign up for this? On its face, this alimony scheme seems to make divorce a one way ticket to financial ruin for the spouse with higher earnings. What God has joined together let no man put asunder — unless that man is willing to pay through the nose for the rest of his natural life.
After the jump, why hasn’t this medieval law been changed already?

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lumbergh.jpgMany moons ago, when I was a law student, I took Divorce Law based solely on the fact that the professor, who was a New York practitioner, brought in one of his celebrity clients to answer questions on the last day of class. My year, the professor rolled up with James Gandolfini, who, when asked how he could possibly justify going from The Sopranos to Surviving Christmas, intimated that a man had to pay his bills and that — sneaking a glance at the professor, corpulent and clad in horn-rimmed glasses, suspenders and an exquisitely form-fitting monogrammed Bill Lumbergh shirt — divorce is costly.

So how much are we talking about?

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “Divorce Lawyers: Washingtonian Ranks the Best of the Worst”

goodwin Procter logo.JPGThe Baby Boomers (the generation that was dealt a resounding defeat last week) is also sometimes called the “Sandwich Generation.” Boomers like to claim that they are the first generation (in the history of “ever” apparently) to have to take care of both their parents and their children while they are still working.

Whiners.

Inter-generational aspersions aside, Goodwin Procter is actually doing something that should help Boomers out. They’ve instituted a very interesting new benefits package:

Free, round-the-clock access to a telephone support center that provides information on services for the elderly, the disabled, and the family members who care for them.

This is a program that could actually help attorneys. As anybody who has ever served as a part-time caretaker/full-time worker can attest to, getting the appropriate information is half the battle.

More details on Goodwin’s program after the jump.

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This advertisement, from tiny divorce and bankruptcy firm Davis and Millard, appeared in an Atlanta magazine in June:
Davis-Millard-Skirt!-New.gif
We get confusing messages. With the curly font and all the pink, it seems like it should be an ad for lip gloss for teens. But the menacing way the woman grips that rolling pin puts fear in our hearts. The color motif and menace bear a striking similarity to this Serial Mom movie poster.
The text at the top of the ad — “Moving on means never having to talk to your mother-in-law again” — reminds us a bit of this earlier advertisement: “Life’s short. Get a divorce.”

shark lawyer attorney swimming with sharks Above the Law blog.jpgRemember this attorney, who announced the dissolution of his law partnership in most unorthodox fashion? We sure do (and so does “Tim from Anaconda”).
Our friends out west are idiosyncratic when it comes to office decor, too. From a piece by Debra Cassens Weiss for the ABA Journal:

A Montana lawyer said his decision to put a shark tank in his office started out as a joke.

“I said, ‘What would it take to put a shark in a lawyer’s office?’ and it just kind of took off from there,” lawyer Christopher Gillette told the Bozeman Daily Chronicle.

Workers hoisted the 1,000-gallon aquarium through the second-story window of Gillette’s new office in downtown Bozeman on Monday. He plans to fill the tank with a blacktip reef shark and other saltwater fish, including a venomous lionfish.

Forget mediation. Nothing brings about settlement as quickly as the prospect of being devoured by a blacktip reef shark. With a venomous lionfish on hand to clean up any leftovers.

Gillette, who practices family law, says he thinks clients will find the tank to be relaxing. “People seem to be comfortable with fish,” he told the newspaper.

Others will get a chance to watch the marine life, too. Gillette plans to install a camera and broadcast video of his fish tank beginning in February at www.cjgillettelaw.com and www.ccaqua.com.

No word yet on whether Bob Link of Cadwalader — official holder of the “shark tank” nickname, courtesy of the New York Law Journal — plans to install an aquarium at One World Financial Center.
ABA Journal [ABA Journal]
Earlier: An Update on the Managhan Law Firm (aka ‘My Wife Is Sleeping Around and That’s Why We’re No Longer Law Partners’)

Britney Spears VMA girlfriend still looks good all you haters.jpgAnd now, no lawyers? From the AP:

Britney Spears’ lawyers in her custody battle with ex-husband Kevin Federline are quitting. The law firm Trope and Trope asked a court Wednesday to be relieved as Spears’ attorneys. The firm says there’s been a “breakdown” in communication with the pop princess that makes representing her “impossible,” according to the filing, obtained by CelebTV.com.

Structured finance lawyers, it’s time to put down those securitization agreements and pick up Us Weekly. Representing the embattled pop star is a growing practice area:

On a separate legal front, an attorney for Spears wants the city attorney’s office to prove that the pop star is a permanent California resident and is subject to state laws that require her to have a valid California driver’s license.

Spears faces up to a year of probation if convicted in a misdemeanor case of driving without a valid license, a charge to which she has pleaded not guilty. The case stems from a videotaped fender-bender in a parking lot in August. A hit-and-run charge has been dismissed.

Spears attorney J. Michael Flanagan earlier Wednesday requested that prosecutors be required to demonstrate that Spears, who owns homes in Louisiana and Florida, intends to make Los Angeles her permanent legal home.

Of course she does — Britney Spears is the quintessential Californian.
Now if only the judicial system would just leave… Britney… alone!!!

Spears’ Lawyers Ask to Quit Custody Case [Associated Press]

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