Holidays and Seasons

Winner of our 2013 Halloween costume contest.

Winner of our 2013 Halloween costume contest.

* Thanks to Wonkette for pointing out that we were on this whole Ruth Baby Ginsburg thing last year. [Wonkette]

* Speaking of our legally themed Halloween costume contest, please send us your nominations. [Above the Law]

* Salacious allegations about a high-flying investment banker invite comparisons to The Wolf of Wall Street. [Dealbreaker]

* The Second Circuit puts a stop to a legal challenge to the stop-and-frisk settlement. [How Appealing]

* You’d expect a former lawmaker to have a better understanding of… the law. [Lexington Herald-Leader]

* The Wall Street Journal reviews Paul Barrett’s new book (affiliate link) about the never-ending Chevron/Ecuador litigation. [Wall Street Journal]

* Speaking of the Chevron/Ecuador matter, here’s more about the Canadian Bar Association’s controversial involvement, which Canada columnist Steve Dykstra covered earlier. [rabble.ca]

* Some thoughts from Jonathan Mermin on something lawyers see every day: bad arguments. [Green Bag]

* Here’s a great new resource for our fellow aficionados of appellate arguments. [Free Law Project]

Spooky CourtLaw enforcement, to say nothing of physics, is usually powerless in a horror movie. As the supernatural bad guy kills its way through the cast, the police turn out to be unreliable assholes.

In a world where horror villains could be brought to justice, most of them would end up in jail or in an insane asylum. Hell, many horror villains have escaped from jail or an insane asylum, and society would put them back there if it could.

Most, but not all. Everybody is entitled to due process, everybody is entitled to their day in court. Some horror villains have violated no laws. Some horror villains deserve their freedom.

I’d like to honor these law abiding bad guys, in order from absolutely least culpable to villains who probably would need to hire Alan Dershowitz just to make sure that their rights were protected. [VARIOUS SPOILERS FOLLOW]

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Slutty law school devil? Bravo.

Slutty law school devil? Bravo.

Happy Halloween! When we were younger, this holiday was about going trick or treating in relatively innocent-looking costumes to collect as much candy as possible. When we started getting older, the costumes grew up too, and our sense of decorum was thrown out the window.

Women now have the option of dressing as sexy professionals, sexy nursery-rhyme characters, sexy vampires, sexy witches, and this season, even sexy Ebola nurses. Men’s costumes usually run the gamut of witty to incredibly offensive — racially and otherwise — but sometimes women drop the slutty schtick to get in on the “fun.”

Believe it or not, even law students can get carried away with racially insensitive costumes. We bet some clueless white law school couple is totally excited about dressing in blackface as Ray Rice and Janay Rice with a bruised eye. You’re so funny and cool! Everyone wants to give your their outlines now! Yay!

One law school is here to remind you not to dress up like complete morons this Halloween…

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halloween pumpkinsHalloween is a little more than a week away, and once again, everyone in the legal community is getting excited for a weekend full of debauchery in their favorite naughty costumes.

For the fifth year in a row, we here at Above the Law are soliciting legally themed costumes for our annual Halloween contest. We’re continually impressed with how creative lawyers and law students can be outside of their natural habitats.

Have you got what it takes to top the winners of years past? We hope so!

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The week before Labor Day is one of my favorite weeks of the year. Has been for a long time. Even during my decade-plus in Biglaw, a fact that may be shocking to those who believe that the Biglaw experience ranges from the tolerable to the miserable — and never enjoyable. But even for those who feel trapped in the ravenous clutches of the insatiable Biglaw billable hours beast, the end of August almost always offers a welcome, if brief, respite. Because late August is prime Biglaw vacation season, and offices nationwide are running on a skeleton staff.

Partners, and even some associates, are trying to squeeze in some family time before the start of school. The younger set is off for a final round of beach weekends, or just enjoying lazy days in the office, relishing the chance to kick out at a normal hour. With time to hit the gym, before a meal in a real restaurant, rather than a Seamless-delivered dinner in a takeout tray. During my Biglaw years, the end of August meant the last few days of commuting down to the Jersey Shore by ferry from Manhattan, with twilight views of the Statue of Liberty and the Verrazano Bridge. Moments of serenity, even in a city of perpetual motion.

The end of summer can be wonderful, and the temptation to milk the most relaxation out of the waning days of the season great. But it would be a mistake to view this period as only one of enjoyment….

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* “They aren’t required to hear it, but this is the major social issue of the day.” The Supreme Court will likely hear a gay marriage case soon, and it’ll obviously be a vehement 5-4 opinion. [NBC News]

* But is SCOTUS really so bitterly divided now? Here’s a fun fact: The justices agreed unanimously in 66 percent of this term’s cases, and the last time that happened was in 1940. [New York Times]

* A partner has left the luxuries of earning up to $4.8 million per year at Wachtell Lipton to start his own executive compensation boutique, which we understand is basically like seeing a unicorn. [Am Law Daily]

* The post-merger world at Squire Patton Boggs is similar to the pre-merger world in that partners are still being churned in and out of the firm every other day. Check out the latest ins and outs. [WSJ Law Blog]

* The Fourth of July is coming up, and you know you want to light up some fireworks. Sure, it’s illegal to sell them in your state, but here’s where you can travel to go to buy some to celebrate freedom. [Yahoo!]

Last Sunday, of course, was Mother’s Day. With respect, to my own mother and other mothers, here are some observations on a frustrated Biglaw career….

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Passover is a time for family. Judaism has holidays galore, but Passover stands unique in its family-centric nature. The highlight of the holiday, the seder (literally “order,” due to the specific program of the evening), is by its very nature a family meal writ large. And on Passover, the definition of family is an expansive one for Jews, with the unfortunate or downtrodden as welcome and entitled to sit at the seder table as one’s immediate relatives. The seder itself commemorates the biblical paschal offering, which was by design intended to be consumed in a communal setting, amongst family.

Just last week, I was speaking to a client about Passover, and despite our differences in both age and observance level, we easily agreed that some of our strongest personal memories are anchored in our childhood seder experiences. In my case, the fact that my childhood seders were fortunate enough to have included my grandparents was a special blessing. Especially since they themselves (together with my parents, who were young children at the time) were forced to flee Egypt as refugees, leaving family and possessions behind. Thankfully, they all ended up (my Dad by way of France, hence my name) in this wonderful free country, where opportunity is open to all who are willing to invest in creating it for themselves. For me, the most fulfilling part of making partner in 2009 was being able to share that recognition with my grandfather, who was in the final stages of a heroic decade-long battle with cancer at the time. His courage in leaving the place of his birth, locked in the bathroom of a passenger ship to Italy to avoid detection, paved the way for our family’s rebirth on these shores. Many have similar stories, and those stories make holidays more meaningful, no matter what holiday is being celebrated.

While I was in Biglaw, holidays presented some of the few opportunities I had for uninterrupted family time. I was always grateful to have worked with people who respected my religious observances, and tried my best to minimize the disruption caused by my unavailability….

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Perhaps a little less ‘undead’ than this.

* The many legal perils of being undead. [The Legal Geeks]

* A rundown of the St. Patrick’s Day crime in Chicago. Bravo. [Crime In Wrigleyville + Boystown]

* Why don’t clients do more to embarrass lawyers for billing to research mundane, obvious legal principles? [Inside Counsel]

* The real-life detective story that solved a 1407 murder. It’s like Murder, She Wrote: The Early Years. [Volokh Conspiracy / Washington Post]

* Mmmmmm. Delicious, delicious evidence. [Lowering the Bar]

* It may not seem like it, but the Obama administration has done a pretty good job on antitrust matters. [Lawyers, Guns & Money]

* Yes. Pay your interns. [Law and More]

* Erie Railroad is 75 and here’s a look back at its illustrious run. Well, it turned 75 last year, but it takes some time to publish a journal about it. Just pretend it’s last year and read the damn articles, all right? [The Journal of Law, Economics & Policy via the American Enterprise Institute]

Your Above the Law editors: Joe Patrice, Elie Mystal, Staci Zaretsky, and David Lat

February is supposed to be full of hearts and love and chocolate candy, but this year, it was mostly filled with snow — and that’s why our Valentine’s Day party, which was originally supposed to be on February 13, had to be rescheduled.

That said, thanks a lot to everyone who was willing to brave the cold and came out on Wednesday night to attend the Above the Law Valentine’s Day party. This year’s festivities were extremely well-attended (the bar was packed), and the entire crowd enjoyed all of the specialty drinks that were served. Thanks to our sponsor, the Business Law Center on WestlawNext™ from Thomson Reuters, for making such a great evening possible.

If you weren’t able to make it out, don’t worry — we’ve got you covered. Here are some of the pictures from a night that was full of fun and fabulosity…

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