Gay

The psychological term for it is The Online Disinhibition Effect, a condition brought on by the interlocking effects of dissociative anonymity, invisibility, asynchronicity, solipsistic introjection, dissociative imagination, and minimization of authority. This is the condition that leads people otherwise aware of proper social and professional behavior to go off the rails and say things they would know not to broadcast publicly if the world could easily identify them.

That’s what happened to a self-identified judge who routinely posted under a pseudonym on a popular college sports board.

And now it looks like we’ve cracked the code and figured out who this judge is, and if we’re right, he’s a rising star. Or he was a rising star, before this….

(It turns out that we’re right. Please note the UPDATE at the end of this post.)

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With the death of the Law Clerk Hiring Plan, federal judges are hiring law clerks earlier and earlier in students’ law school careers. We recently wondered — jokingly, but only half-jokingly — whether 1Ls should start applying for clerkships.

So federal judges should be keenly interested in the insights of young legal minds — especially minds being cultivated at the Yale Law School, the nation’s #1 law school (according to both the U.S. News rankings and the Above the Law rankings). Right?

Well, just because a judge wants your advice as a law clerk doesn’t mean he wants to hear from you as an expert witness. A current Yale law student recently learned this lesson the hard way….

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I showered maybe two times after gym class in middle school. And both times, I was wearing underwear. Looking back, I still don’t understand why the school couldn’t shell out just a few more ducats and construct private shower stalls. Why do schools choose to introduce communal showering right at the time that we are learning that our bodies are horrible monsters that we are rightfully ashamed of? I’m not sure I’ll ever know the answer to that question. At my middle school, there were two kids who stood sentry at the shower room entrance, judging the size of each kid’s equipment. Can you imagine, dear reader, the horror of that experience? Perhaps you can. And perhaps you can imagine why my Hanes remained safely affixed to my inguinal region as I scampered, eyes fixed on the cement floor, surely to meet my death. If I could just run under the sprinkler, I could retreat to my locker where someone somewhere surely had some of that spray deodorant. Christ almighty, friends. Why do we still embrace the communal shower? I WAS A CHILD!!!!!!!

This week, a lobbyist caught the vapors much like I had as a child. Only this lobbyist is an adult. Presumably. Because I still haven’t gotten over middle school and because I don’t want to write about anything else, let’s talk about one issue this week. Let’s talk football. Let’s talk gay paranoia.

Let’s talk communal showers…

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Amanda Knox

* Of course there’s a gender pay gap in Biglaw, but none of the firms are going to tell you about it. We’ll be discussing the results of the annual National Association of Women Lawyers survey later today. [ABA Journal]

* In case you’ve been sleeping under a rock, Texas struck down its ban on gay marriage, but stayed the ruling pending appeal. Seriously, of all places, this happened in Texas. Yeehaw! Ride ‘em, cowboys! [New York Times]

* Well, there goes that “judgment proof” argument. An insurer must defend the Temple Law student who shot a Fox Rothschild partner’s unarmed son under his parents’ homeowners insurance policy. [Legal Intelligencer]

* New Mexico Law didn’t like what it found after auditing its SBA’s off-campus bank account. FYI: the SBA apparently isn’t supposed to spend money on bars, liquor, and restaurants. Who knew? [Albequerque Journal]

* “I don’t want to pay for someone else’s peculiar behavior.” Amanda Knox’s ex-boyfriend, Raffaele Sollecito, is changing his tune about his former flame as their appeal date gets closer and closer. [CNN]

Already hailing a cab.

* Congratulations to A&L Goodbody partner Cian McCourt on becoming a father after his wife gave birth on the sidewalk at 68th Street and 3rd Avenue. [BBC News]

* A class action alleging that hotel price gouging led to a broken tooth. What? [Lowering the Bar]

* Remember the “you’re not good enough” rejection letter? Well, now you can express your feelings about it with this poll. [Althouse]

* A comprehensive survey to the access to justice available to the average America. Spoiler alert: Not a lot. [National Center for Access to Justice]

* Florida-sized corruption allegations. [South Florida Lawyers]

* Is law school a Veblen good? [Lawyers, Guns & Money]

* Dan Patrick (the Texas Republican, not the famous anchor) told all his Twitter followers the true definition of marriage: “ONE MAN & ONE MAN.” Sorry, lesbians. [Slate]

A week ago, someone called me out on Twitter for a perceived grammatical error in one of my posts. That person told me to “get it together.” I corrected that person on the rule, but my would-be grammar adviser didn’t like it one bit. That person responded in true ATL commenter style by retorting, “Maybe that [rule] will help you pass the bar exam.”

That person was another woman. I reminded her that she’d been using her real name while making her snide remarks, and she immediately deleted her Twitter account. She’d apparently forgotten that she wasn’t using her anonymous commenting handle, and didn’t want to be associated with what she’d said.

Perhaps that’s why our commenters feel like they have free rein to say whatever they want, no matter how racist, how sexist, or how anti-gay it may be — they can disclaim ownership, because in the majority of cases, they’re not using their real names. It’s much easier for lawyers and law students to be vile when they don’t have to associate themselves with what their online personalities have said in real life.

That said, it’s difficult being a minority online, whether that word is used to describe race, gender, or sexual orientation. If you’re interested in learning how to engage your commenters, you should attend Above the Law’s inaugural Attorney@Blog conference, where I will moderate a panel on racism, sexism, and homophobia in online commenting platforms, featuring the following distinguished panelists:

This panel will explore the various strategies and best practices (along with their intellectual underpinnings) available to legal bloggers in managing the dark side of the internet: the “trolls” who engage in offensive and hateful (albeit protected) speech.

For more information and for tickets to the conference, please click here. Up to six ethics CLE credits will be available. We look forward to seeing you on March 14.

Attorney@Blog Conference [Above the Law]

* Congrats to Weil Gotshal and Fenwick & West for getting in on Facebook’s $19 billion acquisition of WhatsApp, the biggest Internet deal in a decade. [The Recorder]

* In South Carolina, you can get arrested for crimes that aren’t even things any more. Like “failure to return a VHS tape.” [Lowering the Bar]

* Drunk lawyer at heart of alleged insider trading scheme. [Dealbreaker]

* Did LBJ colossally screw up the Supreme Court? [Concurring Opinions]

* Were you curious about who would be on the Mount Rushmore of Tax Law professors? No? Well, here they are anyway. [TaxProf Blog]

* The so-called “trial penalty” is really a myth and empirical data confirms that defendants who reject plea deals and go to trial actually garner a “trial discount.” Yep, prosecutors aren’t overreaching at all. [PrawfsBlawg]

* President Obama called for patent law reform in the State of the Union address. Now we have some insight into what he’s thinking about. [Patently-O]

* Congratulations to Matthew Skinner, the next executive director of the LGBT Bar Association of Greater New York! [LeGal]

The craziest things happen during the course of litigation in Texas. From threatening to enlarge opposing counsels’ assholes and forcing associates to spy on jurors to using terms like “c*nt” and “dumb sh*t” when referring to colleagues and calling partners “uppity bitches,” things can get a little loco in the Lone Star State.

Bad behavior like this is usually on the part of the lawyers themselves, not their clients. But maybe the clients have decided to take some cues from their lawyers. In Texas, clients now think it’s cool to threaten to anally rape testifying deponents, question lawyers’ sexual orientation, threaten to fight them on the record, and show up to videotaped depositions wearing t-shirts emblazoned with multiple f-bombs.

We always knew that things could get a little wild during depositions, but not this wild….

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* A Miami attorney is gearing up for legalized medical marijuana. He’s even selling franchises, hopefully called McKinebud’s. [Daily Business Review]

* Is Gwyneth cheating on Chris Martin with an entertainment lawyer? [Defamer]

* A Florida village has become a refuge to sex offenders because there’s nowhere else they can go. Isn’t this the plot of Arrested Development? [Agence France-Presse via Yahoo!]

* As if law schools aren’t charging enough, they also absolutely ravage students on casebook prices. It doesn’t have to be this way. [PrawfsBlawg]

* Who’d have thought it would be this hard to define a pig? [Modern Farmer]

* If you aren’t following DLA Piper’s boss Sir Nigel Knowles on Twitter, then… you’re lucky. [Legal Cheek]

* The vice president of the Constitutional Accountability Center weighs in on Judge Wright Allen’s marriage equality decision from the perspective of a gay, married Virginian. [Pilot Online]

* See, it’s not just lawyers who get annoyed when TV doesn’t live up to the realities of the profession. Political communications professionals can get pretty irked by House of Cards. [Ditto Public Affairs]

* A circuit judge just seized control of a lower court’s docket, setting restrictions on a judge’s ability to hear domestic violence cases after finding a repeated pattern of improperly blowing off these matters. It may be the Benchslap-Heard-Round-the-Nation since the slapped jurist is also the president-elect of the American Judges Association. [Detroit Free Press]

Justice Scalia

[Victories for same-sex marriage] will keep happening. And someday soon, Justice Scalia will have the chance to deliver the most vitriolic ‘I told you so’ in recent Supreme Court memory.

Jesse Wegman, a member of the New York Times Editorial Board, discussing how prescient Justice Antonin Scalia has been on the issue of marriage equality.

(Additional notable quotes and links, after the jump.)

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