* The Southern District of New York: gay bench, or the gayest bench? Like fellow S.D.N.Y. nominee Paul Oetken, Alison Nathan is an openly gay lawyer who clerked for SCOTUS and served as an associate White House counsel. [Poliglot / Metro Weekly; Main Justice]
We’re probably about to open a big ol’ can of worms. We’ve been procrastinating on writing this up for a while. But what the heck — opening up cans of worms is our job.
This past Sunday, the New York Times Magazine had a very interesting essay by celebrity law professor Noah Feldman. Here at ATL, he and his wife, fellow Harvard Law School prof Jeannie Suk, have reached a level of Brangelina celebrity that has entitled them to their own mono-moniker: Feldsuk (which you voted on, so you’re estopped from complaining).
Here’s the lede of Professor Feldman’s piece:
A number of years ago, I went to my 10th high-school reunion, in the backyard of the one classmate whose parents had a pool. Lots of my classmates were there. Almost all were married, and many already had kids. This was not as unusual as it might seem, since I went to a yeshiva day school, and nearly everyone remained Orthodox. I brought my girlfriend. At the end, we all crowded into a big group photo, shot by the school photographer, who had taken our pictures from first grade through graduation. When the alumni newsletter came around a few months later, I happened to notice the photo. I looked, then looked again. My girlfriend and I were nowhere to be found.
I didn’t want to seem paranoid, especially in front of my girlfriend, to whom I was by that time engaged. So I called my oldest school friend, who appeared in the photo, and asked for her explanation. “You’re kidding, right?” she said. My fiancée was Korean-American. Her presence implied the prospect of something that from the standpoint of Orthodox Jewish law could not be recognized: marriage to someone who was not Jewish. That hint was reason enough to keep us out.
Not long after, I bumped into the photographer, in synagogue, on Yom Kippur. When I walked over to him, his pained expression told me what I already knew. “It wasn’t me,” he said. I believed him.
Since then I have occasionally been in contact with the school’s alumni director, who has known me since I was a child. I say “in contact,” but that implies mutuality where none exists. What I really mean is that in the nine years since the reunion I have sent him several updates about my life, for inclusion in the “Mazal Tov” section of the newsletter. I sent him news of my marriage. When our son was born, I asked him to report that happy event. The most recent news was the birth of our daughter this winter. Nothing doing. None of my reports made it into print.
Many readers emailed us about this piece. The reactions of three of them appear after the jump.
In ATL’s March Madness, NYU currently enjoys a sizable lead over their uptown competition at Columbia. So they probably don’t need the electoral boost that might result from this delightful video, produced as part of the annual NYU Law Revue:
1. It’s all in the casting: “Columbia” is a brilliant choice. She’s the twenty-something, female embodiment of John Hodgman. If the whole “law” thing doesn’t work out for her, she should look into acting.
2. “Harvard” and “Yale” are super-cute!!! Of course, we’re assuming that in real life they are NYU law students (and perhaps future NYU law hotties).
3. The video includes a photographic cameo by one-half of FELDSUK. Awesome! (And we love how NYU has brilliantly spun Professor Noah Feldman’s high-profile defection to Harvard.)
Congratulations to the NYU Law crew that put together such an excellent video. Nice work, guys!
P.S. Did they get any help from their brilliant colleagues at NYU’s famous film school? Update: The answer to that question is no. A tipster tells us that the creator of the video is a mere law student, who produced this video without film school help. This source also adds:
The ad makes fun of NYU as well: we have no waitlist, and can’t use Macs for exams. The video turns against NYU.
* Over at the Justice Department, the bad-ass Shanetta Cutlar, Chief of the Special Litigation Section of the Civil Rights Division, takes no prisoners.
* Not even summer interns can escape her wrath.
* But hey, at least they get to go back to school. Full-time attorneys can escape only by leaving the Section — provided that Shanetta doesn’t get to them first.
* Speaking of job changes, meet your new White House counsel: Fred Fielding, of Wiley Rein & Fielding (who served as White House counsel under President Reagan).
* Next time you go out for pizza, leave the corporate lawyers at home.
* Pentagon official Charles Stimson doesn’t like how Guantanamo Bay detainees are getting pro bono representation from some of the country’s top law firms. Don’t they have better things to be doing with their pro bono time?
* Michael Nifong manages a Houdini-like escape from the debacle known as the Duke lacrosse team rape case.
* Celebrity law professors Noah Feldman and Jeannie Suk, whom you have just dubbed Feldsuk, have a really nice house.
* But not as nice as the $7 million mansion of patent lawyer Donald Stout (aerial view at right).
* Federal judicial nominees: Out with the old, in with the new.
* Chief Judge Michael Boudin (1st Cir.): You like him, you really like him.
* Maybe it’s because he’s such a big feeder judge. Interestingly enough, though, he has only placed one clerk so far at the Supreme Court for October Term 2007.*
(But Chief Judge Boudin feeds mostly to Justice Breyer and Justice Souter. The former isn’t finished hiring yet, and the latter hasn’t even started.)
We’ve already started using it, so this should come as no surprise. But just to make it official, we now declare FELDSUK the winner of our nickname contest for the fabulous Noah Feldman and Jeannie Suk (previously described as the “Brangelina of the legal academy”).
We tried to defend our initial nickname selection, “Noahjeannie”; but you were unpersuaded. The victory of “Feldsuk” was decisive:
The whole point of being a mono-monikered celebrity entity is that you get covered, and covered, and covered by the media. This coverage continues, long after the public claims to be sick of you and cries out for mercy.
But really they’re not sick of you. This is why Brangelina still moves magazines.
As for the Brangelina of the legal academy, Harvard Law profs Noah Feldman and Jeannie Suk, the jury is still out on what to call them. To vote in our nickname poll, click here.
But we DO know what to call the good professors’ recently acquired, $2.8 million house in Cambridge, Massachusetts. Coldwell Banker has some suggestions: “Imposing,” “lovely,” “magnificent,” and “exceptional.”
We agree. Check it out:
If this reader comment is correct — and it appears to be, since various details match up with the New York Observer article (an 1873 Victorian with five fireplaces and a pool) — Professors Feldman and Suk will be taking up residence in the shown above. As you can see, it’s one nice pile o’ bricks.
Sometimes real estate listings get pulled after outside websites link to them. We hate it when that happens.
To preserve this information for posterity, we took a screencap of the original property listing. Check it out, after the jump.
Earlier today, we bestowed the nickname of Noajeannie upon celebrity law professors Noah Feldman and Jeannie Suk — the Brangelina of the legal academy. But some of you backseat bloggers suggested other names for this overachieving couple, such as “Feldsuk” and “Jeannoah.”
We like “Noajeannie” for several reasons:
1. It scans exactly like “Brangelina.” Compare no-ah-JEAN-nie with bran-juh-LEE-nuh.
2. It puts his name before hers, since his star arguably shines slightly brighter than hers (although, quite obviously, both of them are amazing).
3. Celebrity nicknames tend to work best with first rather than last names. This is why “Bennifer” and “Brangelina” are superior to “Vaughniston.”
Nevertheless, we will adhere to the democratic process. Hence this poll:
One name we definitely don’t like: Sukfeld. It sounds like a pornographic version of “Seinfeld.”
(For the record, though, “Suk” is pronounced “sook” rather than “suck.” We happen to know this ’cause we went to school with Jeannie Suk’s similarly brilliant little sister, Julie Suk (now a law professor at Cardozo). Like her big sis, Julie Suk was a Marshall Scholar and a law clerk to Judge Harry Edwards (D.C. Cir.). But Julie Suk went to Harvard College and Yale Law School, whereas Jeannie Suk did the reverse: Yale College, Harvard Law School.)
P.S. Speaking of polls, if you haven’t done so already, cast your vote for your favorite First Circuit judge. We’ll close this poll tomorrow at 3 PM Eastern time. Thanks. Earlier: Lawyerly Lairs: It’s Still Good to be Noah and Jeannie
We have, on multipleoccasions, shot envious glares in the direction of celebrity law professors Noah Feldman and Jeannie Suk. They’re brilliant; they’re beautiful; they’re members of the Elect (former Souter clerks).
What more could one ask for? We can think of only two things.
First, a one-word, neologistic nickname. From this point forward, Noah Feldman and Jeannie Suk will be referred to in these pages as Noajeannie.
Second, a multimillion-dollar mansion. Oh wait — they already have one. From an article by Anna Schneider-Mayerson in the New York Observer:*
If Mr. Feldman’s announcement [of his move from NYU to Harvard Law School] is only two weeks old, it’s not because he’s immune to the charms of Harvard Square.
The Middlesex South Registry of Deeds lists Noah Feldman and Jeannie Suk as the buyers of a house in Cambridge for $2.8 million. According to city records, the 1873 Victorian home has a pool, nine bedrooms and five fireplaces.
Professor Noah Feldman — the brilliant, gorgeous, legal academic superstar / public intellectual — is abandoning NYU Law School (its student bodyhotness notwithstanding). He’s heading up to Harvard Law School, where his similarly beautiful and brainy wife, Jeannie Suk, is already on the faculty.
(Most readers of ATL are probably familiar with this celebrity couple. But if you’re not — if you don’t know about their Rhodes and Marshall Scholarships, their D.C. Circuit and Supreme Court clerkships, their multiple published books, and their storybook-perfect life — we refer you to The Latest Triumphs of the Elect: It’s Good to Be Noah and Jeannie!)
From what we’ve heard, Noah Feldman’s move was a long time in coming. HLS apparently made an offer to him quite some time ago. The rumor that he might be decamping for Cambridge was circulating in legal academia for a while.
Although the move makes sense, Professor Feldman had good reason to think carefully before leaving Gotham. NYU tried very, very hard to keep him. And here are three considerations that probably crossed his mind: First, he has strong ties to the NYU law school community. It has been his academic home for the past few years, which have been very good to him, and he is worshiped around campus by students (who surround him like groupies to a rock star). Second, being based in New York, the media capital of the country, was great for his career as a public intellectual. It facilitated his frequent contributions to the New York Times (both the magazine and the op-ed page), his regular appearances on major talk shows, and his efforts on the book publishing front (three books and counting). Third, and perhaps most importantly, he and Jeannie have a FABULOUS apartment in the heart of Greenwich Village. And as every New Yorker knows, a good piece of real estate is very hard to find.
At the end of the day, though, Harvard Law School is still Harvard Law School. And when your wife is already on the faculty up there, it’s kinda hard to say no when HLS’s hot dean comes calling.
Congratulations, Professor Feldman, on your new post and the big move! Noah Feldman to join Harvard Law faculty [Harvard Law School] The Latest Triumphs of the Elect: It’s Good to Be Noah and Jeannie! [UTR] Most Beautiful Brainiac: Noah Feldman [New York magazine] Noah Feldman bio [New York University Law School] Jeannie Suk bio [Harvard Law School]
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