Frank Easterbrook

Judge Frank Easterbrook

Let’s play a game of circuit-court word association.

D.C. Circuit? Prestigious.

Ninth Circuit? Wacky.

Sixth Circuit? Vicious.

Seventh Circuit? Benchslappy.

If you question this assessment, please consider the latest benchslaps emanating from 219 South Dearborn Street….

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Washington, DC is often derided as a contemptible swamp full of power-mad squabblers and greedy leeches. And we don’t dispute that. The nation’s capital can be fairly awful when viewed through certain lenses. Still, if you can overlook the pettiness and the posturing, there’s a lot to love about Washington. And a lot of love in Washington, as demonstrated by the newlyweds featured below. All three of these über-impressive couples live and work in and around DC, and we think you’ll agree that any town that’s attracting such gifted, ambitious young people can’t be all bad.

Our finalists:

Jane Kucera and Paul Nitze

Anne Pierson and Robert Allen

Kate Heinzelman and Jonathan Cooper

Read on for more about these legal-eagle lovebirds and their delectable résumés.

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* Former federal prosecutor Moe Fodeman of Wilson Sonsini breaks down the case against Walter White. Spoiler: Fodeman thinks Orange Is the New Black for White. [Esquire Culture Blog]

* President Obama joins the chorus calling for an end to the 3L year. But when will students take all those Law and “Running a Massive Domestic Spying Operation” seminars? [Buzzfeed]

* At the end of this HuffPost Live clip, Elie suggests anti-gay clergy should unsubscribe from the Bravo network. Seems unfair to those who enjoy watching “Real Housewives of the Provo Tabernacle.” [HuffPo Live]

* Scottie Pippen and Horace Grant formed a dominant NBA Jam team. But without Grant, Pippen got dismantled by the duo of Easterbrook and Posner (and Williams). [FindLaw]

* Jim Beam has resuscitated Seinfeld attorney Jackie Chiles in a new ad campaign about suing bears for stealing honey. It mkaes slightly more sense when you see the whole ad. Slightly. [Hollywood Reporter]

* Judge E. Curtissa Colfield seems to have gotten a little drunker than she thought the other night and started berating cops. Maybe drinking is why she had that problem getting those decisions issued on time. [Legal Juice]

* Is rapping about crime probative to charges of committing a crime? Both the majority and dissenting opinion are worth a read. [Las Vegas Law Blog]

* Speaking of…. Taking the Notorious R.B.G. label seriously, here’s some SCOTUS-themed lyrics to Biggie’s Juicy. Embed after the jump….

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It’s spring, and lovers everywhere are flocking to the altar (or huppah, etc.). Not even the federal judiciary is immune to wedding fever! Last month, Lat wrote about the marriage epidemic breaking out among Seventh Circuit judges. (Note the multiple updates added to the story after publication, which contain details about the two new judicial spouses and the one judicial fiancée.)

We’ll pray nightly for the Easterbrook wedding be featured in the Times, but meanwhile, let’s get caught up on a few of the notable weddings from the chillier months. Here are a few that caught our eye:

Gila Shlomo and Avi Sutton

Caroline Trang Nguyen and Daniel Tran Gien

Twist Phelan and Jack Chapple

Read on to get the details on these fabulous lawyer-newlyweds.

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* The Dukes of Hazzard and Braveheart cited in the Eleventh Circuit. Other circuits, the gauntlet has been thrown down. [Volokh Conspiracy]

* Dave’s not here, man. Probably not the smartest stoner on the planet. [Lowering the Bar]

* Former Skadden attorney loses her appeal claiming that insomnia constituted a disability. It’s a setback for her, but nothing worth losing sleep over. [National Law Journal]

* The Second Circuit agreed with every other court that heard the motion and denied the effort to recuse Magistrate Judge Peck from the Da Silva Moore predictive coding case. [IT-Lex]

* Maybe it’s time for law professors to get off their duffs and try helping out their unemployed students directly. [Concurring Opinions]

* Chief Judge Easterbrook allows a $25K student-loan discharge for a “destitute” paralegal. The educational-industrial complex is not going to sit still for this. [ABA Journal]

* Saira Rao, of Chambermaid (affiliate link) fame, has a new publishing venture — check it out. [Kickstarter]

* Oh, BARBRI. What’s the Matter with Kansas, indeed (after the jump)….

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* Prosecutor charges America’s official groundhog, Punxsutawney Phil, for failing to accurately predict the weather. Good to know Pennsylvania prosecutors are on top of the groundhog beat after messing up the “sexual predator coaching a football program” beat for about a decade. [Washington Times]

* UPDATE: Judge Easterbrook is getting hitched to former Anchorage City Clerk Barbara Gruenstein on May 12. [Anchorage Daily News]

* Tattoo convention discusses copyrights. As long as I don’t have to remove the giant butterfly tat on the small of my back I’m cool. [Washington Post]

* “Pope Francis changes Holy Thursday plans to celebrate Mass in prison.” OK, ready yourself for the Pope Francis “Man in Black” phase. [Catholic News Service]

* Defending yourself from solicitation charges counts as “Official Senate Business?” Actually, that sounds about right. [Lowering the Bar]

* UChiLawGo sums up the end of law school. [UChiLawGo]

* Sad news, “Mississippi State Rep. Jessica Upshaw (R), an attorney who had been a lawmaker since 2004, was found dead at the home of former state Rep. Clint Rotenberry (R) in Mendenhall, Mississippi…Mississippi Bureau of Investigation spokesman Warren Strain said it did not appear to be a natural death.” This is the fifth Mississippi lawmaker to die in five months. The other four all died of natural causes…so they say. [Jezebel]

* David and Elie will be showing up at Georgetown this Thursday afternoon. RSVP at the linked ACS site. [ACS]

No, not to each other. In the states covered by the Seventh Circuit, marriage is still between one man and one woman — at least for now.

(By the way, there is precedent for judges from the same circuit court marrying each other. Back in 2004, then-Chief Judge Carolyn Dineen King and Judge Thomas M. Reavley, both of the Fifth Circuit, tied the knot.)

So yes, judges get married, just like us. But it’s noteworthy to have so many judicial nuptials in such a short span of time.

Two Seventh Circuit judges just got married, and a third — one who I never expected to get married — is engaged. Who are the jurists in question?

Please note the multiple UPDATES added after the jump.

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The rejection letter is a lost art. Heck, in this day and age, most “rejection letters” are simply the cold silence of an empty inbox. That’s how I roll. It’s so much easier to just not respond to a request than to go through the whole, “Thank you for your interest in replacing Elie at Above the Law. Unfortunately, I’m not dead yet.”

Nowadays, you have to feel lucky to even receive a perfunctory rejection letter. Whether it’s “the position has been filled” or “we’ll keep your résumé on file” or “you should have included a picture of your breasts,” few people bother to let applicants know even fake reasons for why they didn’t get hired.

Apparently, the only people who still take the time to send meaningful rejection letters are federal judges. Over the past few weeks, tipsters have sent in a few from judges that at least try to give rejected applicants some sense of what happened.

Maybe we shouldn’t be surprised about our judiciary’s attention to such details. After all, we’re talking about people who will write long-ass arguments about issues even when their analysis has been “rejected”….

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As Brian Tannebaum wrote earlier today, many lawyers (and their cases) live and die by the ticking of the clock. Any attorney — or anyone who’s ever talked with an attorney — has heard about late nights struggling to file a brief by deadline.

So what happens when a litigant files a motion for appeal at 3 a.m. instead of the 12 a.m. deadline, and the judge allows the late filing anyway, then dismisses it on the merits… leading to yet another appeal?

In our Benchslap of the Day, Judge Frank Easterbrook writes, “it does not take a reference to Cinderella to show that midnight marks the end of one day and the start of another.” But maybe the plaintiff in the case does need to remember that he turns into a pumpkin at midnight, not 3 a.m….

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “Benchslap of the Day: You Were Late for a Very Important Date, Deal with It”

At a breakfast last week, the Seventh Circuit Bar Association learned the true meaning of going “from the sublime to the ridiculous”: As Judge Frank Easterbrook took his seat, I approached the lectern.

I won’t burden you with the subject of my remarks (regular readers of this column could probably guess), but I’ll share the sublime. Judge Easterbrook said one thing, and he failed to mention another topic that he often raises.

Judge Easterbrook explained that, as a young lawyer, he had sent a brief to the Third Circuit for filing. The clerk rejected the brief and mailed it back. Easterbrook called, and the clerk’s office explained that it had rejected the brief because the back cover was the wrong shade of blue — a shade specified by an unwritten local rule. Easterbrook asked if there were any other unwritten rules, and the clerk said he wasn’t sure. Easterbrook mailed a revised version of the brief, which the clerk’s office again rejected — this time for violating a different unwritten local rule. On the third try, the clerk’s office finally accepted the brief. Easterbrook swore that, if he were ever the chief judge of a circuit, all of the rules would be in writing. Easterbrook then told the assembled crowd that (1) the Seventh Circuit’s written rules are fairly comprehensive and (2) the clerk’s office is extremely helpful if you call for advice, so there’s no longer an excuse for not complying with appellate local rules.

Judge Easterbrook last week chose not to discuss a different subject. One of the other folks who attended the breakfast meeting told me that the judge often raises this in his talks . . .

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