* A disappointing ruling from the 3rd Circuit for sports gamblers in Delaware. [USA Today]
* L.A. City Attorney Carmen Trutanich wants to make hanging out illegal. [Los Angeles Times]
* Judge Jed Rakoff is becoming a media darling. Another article singing the BofA-bench-slapping judge’s praises. [New York Times]
* Foley & Lardner sued for allegedly revealing trade secrets. [National Law Journal]
* Connecticut prosecutor John H. Durham has been chosen to lead the Justice Department’s investigation into CIA torture of detainees. [Talking Points Memo]
* Four more years for Bernanke. [Washington Post]
Gambling / Gaming
* A disappointing ruling from the 3rd Circuit for sports gamblers in Delaware. [USA Today]
We usually wouldn’t recommend that law school students try to pay their tuition through gambling — but if you’re a former poker pro, it might not be such a bad idea.
Leo Wolpert, a rising 2L at the University of Virginia, just won “Event 29,” a $10,000 no-limit hold ‘em heads-up tournament in the World Series of Poker. From the Poker Pages:
Wolpert is a 26-year-old former professional poker player who is currently attending law school. He is enrolled at the University of Virginia. He just completed his first year. He graduated with an undergraduate degree from the University of Michigan. He spent two years as a poker pro, mostly playing online. Wolpert was so successful that he built up a huge bankroll playing mostly cash games. He decided to use his poker winnings to go back to school.
His total winnings in Event 29:
$652,682 $625,682. With that in the bank and a law degree from UVA, we see a bright future in the cards for Wolpert.
Former pro Leo Wolpert wins Event 29 [ESPN]
World Series of Poker Leo Wolpert Wins Event 29 $10K HeadsUp [PokerPages News]
If you are of a certain age, your first experience with Delaware was probably this:
But then you went to law school. And at some point, you learned this:
But now we are in the 21st century. And it’s not your father’s Delaware, not anymore.
After the jump, Delaware gets ready for football season.
CC: The General Public, The Grammar Police, NYPD, LVPD
FROM: Elie Mystal
SUBJECT: Whereabouts and Other Sundries
I will be out of the office from right about now until Monday, February 23rd.
I have not been fired (so far as I am aware). My performance is not under review. I’m not having a heart attack. Nobody took my stapler. I’m not stuck at “the Sizzler” waiting for the jaws of life to pry me out of the door. I’m just taking a little vacation.
Above the Law won’t miss a beat. Lat and Kash will both be around as always, breaking news, providing insight, and keeping all of the readers in the loop.
But, for extra help during these crazy times, we’re bringing in a guest editor.
You know her, you love her, many of you voted for her six months ago: Marin will be girl-in-the-know next week on Above the Law. I trust that everybody will treat her with the same kindness and respect that I’ve come to so thoroughly enjoy.
I’ll not be checking email or voice mail, nor will I be scanning the sky for smoke signals. Carrier pigeons and other messenger fowl will be shot on sight.
Please send all of your tips, questions, concerns, hot documents, and non-sequitur ideas to firstname.lastname@example.org, so that Lat, Kash, and Marin know what you want to read about.
And if you happen to be in Vegas this weekend, feel free to stop by and say hi. I’ll be the loudest guy at Venetian, the broke guy in the Bellagio poker room, or the mentally unstable, homeless-looking person taking money from people with no understanding of European history at Excalibur.
You know what would be awesome, if the legal system got its claws out of my online poker “supplementary income” program.
Perhaps the first steps towards the decriminalization of poker have already started. While many states outlaw “games of chance,” the ABA Journal is reporting that some poker players are arguing that anti-gaming laws should not apply to them because poker is a game of “skill.”
A Pennsylvania judge ruled Texas Hold ‘em is a game of skill and acquitted a man who held poker games in his garage, according to CardPlayer.com. And a Colorado jury acquitted the organizer of a poker league after a University of Denver statistics professor testified poker is a game of skill, according to a press release by the Poker Players Alliance.
How is this not a slam dunk argument? Only people who don’t know how to play poker think that it is a game of chance. Luck plays a role, sure, just like in everything else in life.
“Why do you think the same five guys make it to the final table of the World Series of Poker every year? What, are they the luckiest guys in Las Vegas? ”
Jane Willis was always a standout student. Her reputation as a math whiz was well known at Phillips Exeter and Harvard, where she graduated in 1991 with a lofty recommendation from Lawrence Summers.
But no one suspected how Willis was using those skills, and she wasn’t about to tell. Even as a partner at a high-powered Boston law firm, she has kept her curious back story to herself.
“Sounds weird to say, but it just never came up,” Willis says, sipping a draft beer in a hotel bar not far from her office at One International Place.
She likes beer? Ick. Why not some fine wine or top-shelf liquor? But Jane Willis is not your ordinary Biglaw partner:
She might still be mum if not for 21, the new movie about MIT’s celebrated blackjack team. Willis, it turns out, was a member of the card-counting cadre that beat the casinos and, later, inspired the best-selling book Bringing Down the House: The Inside Story of Six MIT Students Who Took Vegas for Millions. In the film, which opens Friday, Kate Bosworth’s character is based on Willis.
How cool is that? We like the casting of Bosworth; there’s definitely a resemblance (see photos; Willis is on the left).
More after the jump.
- Alan Dershowitz, Antitrust, Gambling / Gaming, Gay, Law Professors, Media and Journalism, Microsoft, Non-Sequiturs, Real Estate
* Remember the Mystery Pimp from our recent column about Cadwalader? Peter Lattman, who works in the same building as CWT, has solved the mystery. Fantastic! [WSJ Law Blog]
* “Despondent Microsoft Has Nervous Breakdown; Jumps Into Elliott Bay To Live With Alien Sea Creatures.” [What About Clients?]
* New digs for The American Lawyer. Their landlord is now Larry Silverstein, who was recently featured on the magazine’s cover. Did they get a break on the rent for that kind of publicity? [The Real Estate]
* Brilliant Harvard Law professors rush to the defense of… online poker! Charlie Nesson and Alan Dershowitz? Now that’s what we call a full house. [Conglomerate]
* “Is Dumbledore gay simply because Rowling says he is?” Discuss. [PrawfsBlawg]
It appears that lots of things are going up in smoke out west. From Blogonaut:
Two weeks ago the 700-lawyer San Francisco firm announced 65 staff were laid off. Now Heller has lost two leading and loyal partners to rival firms.
Patricia Gillette, a co-chairwoman of Heller Ehrman’s the labor and employment practice has defected to Orrick, Herrington & Sutcliffe along with another labor partner and four associates, the Recorder reports.
This defection in San Francisco comes at the same time that Jerry Marks, Heller’s Los Angeles managing partner and a well-known securities litigator, is jetting for Milbank, Tweed, Hadley & McCloy.
Not good news. A slowdown in work, staff layoffs, and partner defections are the hallmarks of a law firm implosion. They’ve foreshadowed the demises of several firms over the years, such as Brobeck and Testa Hurwitz.
Remember how the Heller Ehrman summer associates were grumpy over not getting paid at the $160K level? At this rate, they should be grateful to have somewhere to go after graduation.
Speaking of the Heller Ehrman summers, we have a summer associate story not previously posted, after the jump.
The plea hearing for the embattled star quarterback took place this morning. One of Michael Vick’s lawyers, Billy Martin, spoke to reporters on the courthouse steps. He stated that “this matter is concluded until December 10th, when Judge Hudson will sentence Michael Vick according to the plea agreement.” He also announced that Vick will make a statement of his own at 11:30 AM today.
At the hearing, Judge Henry Hudson told Michael Vick something along these lines: “You know you’re taking your chances here. I’m not bound by the recommendations [of the parties].”
A correct statement of the law, especially after Booker? Yes. A smart thing for a judge to do at a plea hearing, to prevent the defendant from later claiming he was blindsided? Sure.
But, reading the tea leaves a bit, we’d hazard a guess that Judge Hudson might give Vick significantly more than the 12 or so months that the parties will recommend (per the plea agreement). Stay tuned.
(We’d guess that the parties will recommend a year and a day, which will make Vick eligible for certain “good time” credits applicable only to sentences over a year.)
The plea agreement (PDF) for star quarterback Michael Vick has been filed in federal court. In the statement of facts (PDF) accompanying the agreement, Vick admits involvement in the dogfighting conspiracy (including funding it), but declines to admit a number of other allegations. According to ESPN, Vick claims that he “did not place side bets and did not receive proceeds from purses from the fights.”
Here’s what the agreement provides with respect to sentencing:
Assuming zero criminal history, an adjusted offense level of 13 gives you an imprisonment range of 12 to 18 months. Of course, and as noted in the agreement, the sentencing judge is not bound by the guidelines (thanks to Booker).
What’s next in procedural terms, from CNN:
Vick, 27, is scheduled to appear in federal court in Richmond, Virginia, on Monday, where he is expected to plead guilty before a judge. The judge in the case will have the final say over the plea agreement.
Presiding over Vick’s case is Judge Henry Hudson, a Bush II appointee to the bench and a former U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of Virginia (under Bush I). He has an impressive resume, but we don’t know much about him personally. We welcome your thoughts on Judge Hudson in the comments.
Vick files plea agreement admitting to dogfighting [ESPN.com]
Vick admits dog killing, conspiracy [CNN]