Family Law

If you’ve been representing someone in a knock-down, drag-out, decade-long divorce action, with no end in sight, it’s understandable that you’d be a little pissed off. And while some attorneys prefer to write “not so sincere” letters calling opposing counsel “a**holes,” others find more creative ways to channel their anger for the sake of poetic justice.

And while poetry may be the best way to make passive-aggressive complaints about your case, the next time you’re considering writing a four-page, 60-line email riffing on a classic holiday poem, you might want to consider your audience. Some people might not be fans of your rhyme scheme….

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Steven Simkin: now with neckwear.

Remember Steven Simkin, the prominent Paul Weiss partner who sued his ex-wife for a better divorce deal? Simkin argued that even though he negotiated for and obtained the couple’s investment account with one Bernard Madoff as part of their 2006 separation agreement, his former wife should now pay him more money — since it was subsequently revealed, years later, that Madoff was running a huge Ponzi scheme.

As you may recall, I was not terribly sympathetic to Simkin. In my view, an expert negotiator like Simkin — the head of PW’s real estate practice, who was also represented by separate counsel in the divorce — should be required to live with the bargain he struck. In negotiating for and taking on the Madoff account, he also took on the risks associated with that investment.

An intermediate appeals court sided with Simkin. But now New York’s highest court, the Court of Appeals, has spoken….

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Where's our spring bonus?

* Lawyers at this Biglaw firm may learn a thing or two about respecting their elders later this week. Kelley Drye is close to settling an age discrimination suit filed by Eugene D’Ablemont, one of its many de-equitized partners. [Wall Street Journal]

* Well, this could definitely be one of the reasons why Cravath hasn’t given out any spring bonuses to associates yet this year. They probably had to spend all of their money to clean up their allegedly fly-infested cafeteria. [Am Law Daily]

* Women in Virginia will now be able to politely decline their pre-abortion transvaginal ultrasounds in favor of abdominal ones. Oh, how nice! Look at that, girls, we totally won the war on women. [CBS News]

* Things Dharun Ravi texted to Tyler Clementi on the night the latter committed suicide? “I’ve known you were gay and I have no problem with it.” Of course you knew, you watched his sexual encounters via webcam. [CNN]

* According to the Massachusetts Appeals Court, this equation makes sense: donor sperm + donor eggs + an estranged wife + consent to post-separation IVF = a child support obligation. [Boston Globe]

The story of the tangled relationship between Casey Greenfield, a rising star in New York legal circles, and Jeffrey Toobin, arguably the nation’s leading legal journalist, has gone mainstream. Over the long weekend, the New York Times wrote an 1,800-word story on their affair.

Actually, to be fair, the story was mainly about Casey Greenfield and her law partner, Scott Labby, launching their boutique law firm, Greenfield Labby (which has a beautifully designed website, by the way). The firm specializes in what the Times describes as “high-stakes family law,” which includes not just divorce and custody litigation, but “[c]risis management, strategic planning and contract resolution.”

The story of Greenfield and Labby launching a new small law firm is both interesting and inspiring. But, at the same time, it’s one that we’ve seen — and written — before. You can read our earlier write-up of Greenfield Labby’s launch over here.

The most interesting parts of the NYT piece concern Casey Greenfield’s affair with the then-married (and still-married) Jeff Toobin, a long-running relationship that produced a baby boy. The writer, Times reporter Robin Finn, unearthed several juicy, previously unreported details….

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* How would you describe the mainstream media’s recent reporting on Citizens United? Not true, not true — and Dan Abrams explains why. [Mediaite via The Corner / Ramesh Ponnuru]

* Whether the U.S. Constitution requires marriage equality can be debated as a matter of constitutional law. But as a policy matter, is this still an open question? Even Professor John Yoo, the bane of liberals’ existence, supports same-sex marriage as a policy matter. [Ricochet]

* I support marriage equality, but I do not support glitter bombing. It’s all fun and games until someone loses an eye (and files a lawsuit over it). [Althouse]

* If you adopt your 42-year-old girlfriend, does that turn your sexual relationship with her into incest? Professor Terry Turnipseed — yes, that’s his real name — is on the case. [Slate]

* Professor Mark Fenster writes an interesting post in defense of boredom (triggered by Adminlawgate at Yale Law School). [PrawfsBlawg]

* Speaking of boredom and frustration, let’s talk about… e-discovery! [Inside Counsel]

* What’s a hot practice area for 2012? [Going Concern]

* Speaking of hot practice areas, are you an intellectual property or technology lawyer? If so, this development might interest you. [MarketWatch]

Valentine’s Day is right around the corner, and for some people, it represents a time to serenade a sweetheart, pop bottles of champagne, and stare dreamily into the eyes of Mr. or Ms. Right (or Right Now, as the case may be). For others, Valentine’s Day is a time of loneliness and despair — angry, bitter lawyers, we’re looking at you — where only the commiseration of other single friends can lift one’s spirits.

For others still, Valentine’s Day is a time to ponder how their spouse got so fat, and why they decided to marry such an obnoxious, sniveling idiot. For the last category of those who will be celebrating lamenting Valentine’s Day this year, we’ve got a possible salve for your marital woes.

As we mentioned in Morning Docket, those who hope to dodge Cupid’s arrows this year can enter a contest in the hopes of winning a free divorce. There’s just one catch….

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There may be a case, which is for a court of law to decide, but that’s a made-up number.

Kate O’Brien Ahlers, a spokesperson for the New York City Law Department, commenting on the $900 trillion lawsuit filed against the city by Fausat Ogunbayo, a mother whose children were placed in foster care in June 2008.

To help me get in the holiday spirit, I’ve been catching up on my favorite movies. Some might prefer It’s A Wonderful Life or Miracle on 34th Street, but I can’t get enough of It’s a Wonderful Lifetime and ABC Family’s 25 Days of Christmas. Give me a movie where a D-list celebrity overcomes the holiday blues to discover the meaning of Christmas, the joy of love, and the warmth of family, and I am a happy girl.

After 22 days of non-stop Christmas movie watching, I began to think that only in a movie staring Melissa Joan Hart would someone devote her professional career to tackling an issue she had to overcome. Not so.

Earlier this month, Casey Greenfield, known for her personal battle with child support issues, and Scott Labby, a fellow graduate of Yale Law School, formed the firm Greenfield Labby LLP. The firm’s mission is to serve individual clients “with a focus on family and matrimonial practice, strategic planning and crisis management”….

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* I guess it really doesn’t matter how much lawyers love Ron Paul if Biglaw firms keep emptying their seemingly overflowing coffers into Obama’s re-election campaign. [Washington Post]

* Congratulations to Yale Law School graduate Ronan Farrow, son of Woody Allen and Mia Farrow. Ronan probably isn’t shallow and empty with no ideas and nothing interesting to say, since he’s just been named a 2012 Rhodes Scholar. [ABC News]

* National drinking age laws: keeping women from killing themselves or being murdered since the 1980s. Now where’s the study on how many people actually obey these laws? [USA Today]

* A Florida woman has disappeared after battling it out with her ex-fiancé over an engagement ring on The People’s Court. As if you needed another reason not to be seen on that show. [Daily Mail]

* According to a new law in England, water might be wet, but that doesn’t mean it’ll fix dehydration. Not elementary, my dear Watson, but “stupidity writ large.” [International Business Times]

* The fall of the Third Reich fourth tyke? Poor little Adolf Hitler’s parents have lost custody of yet another child thanks to the state of New Jersey. [New York Daily News]

Judge William Adams

Warning: the following video is very disturbing. I’m not a squeamish person, and I couldn’t really watch the whole thing.

It’s sweeping the internet today: it’s a video of a man beating his daughter. Allegedly, that man is Judge William Adams, the Aransas County Court-at-Law Judge.

And the video was uploaded by Hillary Adams, the victim.

It’s all a bit much. But it is what everybody is talking about today….

UPDATE (3 PM): Comments from Judge William Adams and from his ex-wife, Hallie Adams, have been added below.

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