One of the perks of being a judge is that everyone has to laugh at your jokes. Except when they’re in poor taste and arguably offensive.
If you’re going to make an attempt at humor in the courtroom, proceed with caution — even if you’re the one wearing the robe. From Rumpole (via S.D. Fla. Blog):
Well, those fine folks North Of the Border have done it again.
This time it is Circuit Court Judge Jeffrey Levenson, who put his robed foot in his mouth by making an inappropriate joke about the Defendant in a sexual battery case during the charge conference….
To summarize, apparently the Defendant is a high school football player, and the case involved the allegation of illegal sexual contact with another male. Judge Levenson asked what position the defendant played. He was told “linebacker” and another person in the courtroom said “Tight End” at which point Judge Levenson said “Wide Receiver?”
* 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]
That’s the debate currently raging in the Los Angeles office of Skadden. It was triggered by some exuberant, multicolored emails from a Gay Colleague, promoting the Skadden LA AIDS Walk team.
From the delicious (but sporadically updated) Skadden Insider:
[T]he e-mails weren’t well received by everyone because “they are pretty aggressive and unprofessional. Just the tone of voice, the five thousand colors, the naming of names of who contributed and who didn’t.”
Our source continued: “And of course, some ignorant fools are going around saying, “I don’t go around calling myself the ‘straight associate’! Anyway, it was pretty funny. It was a gay gay gay Friday.”
Check out the full post, which reprints the (literally) colorful email, over here.
And read about another instance of public shaming at Skadden, after the jump.
Andrew Bruck takes a question at Wednesday’s press conference.
Every now and then, we leave our apartment. We did so on Wednesday, to attend the press conference of Law Students Building a Better Legal Profession, where the organization unveiled its law firm diversity rankings (accessible here; Los Angles Times article here).
It was quite informative. For those of you who might be interested — and we’re guessing there are a number of you, judging from the robust commentary on our earlier post — read more, after the jump.
Since we started off today on a somewhat sordid note, we might as well keep going down the same path. From the AP:
Adrian Exley was wrapped tightly in heavy plastic, then bound with duct tape. A leather hood was put over his head with a thin plastic straw inserted so that he could breathe, and he was shut up in a closet.
That, apparently, was the way Exley liked it. But the way it ended — with Exley suffocating — was not what he had in mind when he traveled from Britain for a bondage session with a man he had met through a sadomasochism Web site.
Exley’s body was discovered in the woods last year, two months after he was bound up in the bondage “playroom” Gary LeBlanc had built in the basement of his suburban Boston home.
LeBlanc, a 48-year-old Gulf Oil sales executive, detailed his responsibility in the fatal bondage session in a five-page suicide note, just before he put a gun to his head and killed himself.
Now the question is: Since Exley consented to the sex play, can LeBlanc be held responsible for his death?
LeBlanc committed suicide, but the issue still matters:
Exley’s family is suing LeBlanc’s estate for unspecified damages, claiming wrongful death. Many bondage enthusiasts are watching the case closely, seeing it as a lesson in where to draw the line of responsibility on consensual but dangerous sex.
Additional sensational and salacious details appear in the full article.
Moral of the story: If you’re into this sort of thing, before doing anything, make sure your partner signs a waiver, assumption of risk, and release of liability form. Then transmit an executed copy to a third party prior to the liaison, so there’s contemporaneous documentation. Good luck. Deadly consent: Bondage death raises legal issues [AP via CNN] S&M for Beginners [Tango]
First the case of the $54 million pants was dismissed. And now another ridiculous but amusing lawsuit, previously covered here and here, bites the dust.
From a piece by Sheri Qualters for the National Law Journal:
The federal court battle over a Massachusetts bar examination question about homosexual marriage has ended with the court accepting the plaintiff’s voluntary dismissal of the case.
On Oct. 9, a Massachusetts federal judge granted Stephen Dunne’s request to dismiss his case against the bar examination testing agency, the state Supreme Judicial Court and four individual justices over a question on the state’s bar exam concerning homosexual marriage.
In a lawsuit filed in June, Dunne claimed he failed the Massachusetts bar examination because he didn’t answer a question about homosexual marriage.
Are you concerned about diversity (or the lack thereof) at America’s top law firms? Have you been wishing for a handy resource that would rank the Biglaw shops by their performance on diversity metrics, as well as other measures, such as billable hours and pro bono work?
Well, you’re in luck. Later today, Building a Better Legal Profession will be issuing just such a report. Here’s a blurb for their upcoming press conference:
Over one-third of all large law firms in Manhattan don’t have a single African-American partner. Nearly half of all large law firms in Washington, D.C. don’t have a single Hispanic partner. One firm doesn’t have a single LGBT partner or associate in either office. On October 10, find out who.
Building a Better Legal Profession, a national grassroots coalition of law students, will release its first report on the status of the legal profession. The groundbreaking study compares the largest law firms in each of the top six legal markets (New York, Washington, Boston, Chicago, Northern California, and Southern California) by various metrics. The report ranks firms by billable hours, pro bono participation, and demographic diversity (percentages of partners and associates who are female, African-American, Hispanic, Asian-American, and LGBT).
On hand at the press conference will be statements of support from Marcia Greenberger, co-president of the National Women’s Law Center, and Prof. Deborah Rhode, former chair of the ABA Commission on Women in the Profession. Media: Please contact Andrew Bruck or Prof. Michele Landis Dauber for more information and sample rankings.
To get a sense of the rankings, click here (PDF), for a report card showing how D.C.’s top law firms stack up on diversity, or here (PDF), for the New York law firm diversity rankings.
The leading firm for diversity in Washington (with an overall grade of B+; almost all the firms earn C’s or worse): Nixon Peabody! Remember, they hired lots of minorities to sing their theme song (mp3).
For those of you here in D.C., consider attending today’s press conference (we’ll be there):
Wednesday, October 10, 2007 — 12:30 p.m. National Press Club 13th floor, Zenger Room 529 14th St. NW Washington, DC
* He likes ‘em young. [WNBC]
* WSJ Law Blog follows SCOTUS comedy. [WSJ Law Blog]
* More Jack Thompson chicanery. [GamePolitics]
* In keeping with the non-top-tier theme, here’s a Tier 4 that’s moving. [WRAL]
* Sorry, Howard Bashman. [Yahoo!]
Despite the unseasonably warm temperatures we’ll be seeing here in D.C. later this week, summer is over. But that doesn’t mean our inbox is closed to stories of summer associate scandal.
Check out this great pair of controversies, from the summer program of Washington powerhouse Patton Boggs:
There have been rumors flying around Patton Boggs about major drama in this year’s summer associate class that I thought I’d pass along. Some of the summers got upset because:
(1) At the summer associate golf outing, one of the associates wore a Confederate flag hat while playing 18 holes with the summers. The hat apparently went unnoticed by everyone except the summer associates, who (rightfully) felt uncomfortable telling a lawyer at the firm that his hat may be in poor taste. Best part: apparently he shared a golf cart with one of the black summers!
(2) Apparently a very high-level partner at Patton Boggs was disappointed to learn that a beauty queen winner/current law student was not offered a position as a summer associate. When he learned that the firm had instead hired a (gasp!) gay summer associate, he allegedly said, in front of others at the firm, “You know the recruiting department is screwed up when they’re rejecting beauty queens but hiring homosexuals.”
We contacted Patton Boggs for comment. A firm spokesperson provided this statement:
“The firm takes these types of matters seriously. When we hear of things of this nature, we investigate and take appropriate action as necessary.”
If you’re at Patton Boggs and can enlighten us further about these events — or if you’re at another firm, and have summer associate stories you’re now at liberty to share with us, given the passage of time — please email us. Thanks.
Are you challenged by the costs and logistics of maintaining your office, distracting you from the practice of law?
Many small firms are successfully moving part—or even all—of their practice to a virtual setting. This even includes multi-jurisdictional practice spanning several states and practice areas, although solo and small partnerships are still the largest adopters of virtual law.
Can you do the same? The new article Mobile in Practice, Virtual by Design from author Jared Correia, Esq., explores how mobile technology bring real-life benefits to a small law firm. Read this new article—the next in Thomson Reuters’ Independent Thinking series for small firms—to explore how a mobile practice:
Ed. note: The Asia Chronicles column is authored by Kinney Recruiting. Kinney has made more placements of U.S. associates, counsels and partners in Asia than any other recruiting firm in each of the past six years. You can reach them by email: [email protected].
Since late last year, things have been booming in Hong Kong / China in cap markets, especially Hong Kong IPOs. M&A deal flow has recently been getting a bit stronger as well. Although one can’t predict such things with any certainty, all signs are pointing to a banner entire 2014 for the top end US corporate and cap markets practices in Hong Kong / China. This is not really new news, as its been the feeling most in the market have had for a few months now and things continue to look good.
The head of our Asia practice, Evan Jowers, has been in Hong Kong for about 10 days a month (with trips every other month to both Shanghai and Bejing) for the past 7 months (Robert Kinney and Evan Jowers will be in Hong Kong again March 15 to 23), and spending most of his time there meeting with senior US hiring partners at just about all the major US and UK firms there, as well as prospective candidates at all associate levels and partner levels, and when in the US, Evan works Asia hours and is regularly on the phone with such persons, as our the other members of our Asia team. Our Yuliya Vinokurova is in Hong Kong every other month and Robert is there about 5 times a year as well. While we have a solid Asia team of recruiters, Evan Jowers will spend at least some time with all of our candidates for Asia position. We have had long standing relationships, and good friendships in some cases, with hiring partners and other senior US partners in Asia for 8 years now.
Everyone is talking about the importance of Social Media in Corporate America. But it is relatively safe to say that most law firms and lawyers are slightly behind the social curve. Most lawyers, at minimum, use LinkedIn, for networking. Some even use Twitter for pushing out short, pithy content, while many have Blogs, where they write their little hearts out. The adage “it is better to give than to receive” is not always true though in the world of Social. In the Social World – it is best to listen, give back and engage.
Social Media is a communications tool that can deeply educate you about the needs and wants of your clients and prospects when used in conjunction social media monitoring and sharing tools.
Take this quick quiz and see if you know how to use Social to help you engage more with your clients or to better service the ones you have.