Holidays and Seasons

What better way to do it than with my wand? This is the best part of my day.

– Judge Cynthia Giuliani of the Clark County, Nevada Family Court, explaining why she decided to put her gavel aside on Halloween as she finalizes adoptions — because she thinks that “what adoption does for children actually is sort-of magical.”

It’s Halloween tonight, don’t forget to wear a condom.

I know, that advice comes too late for most people. Most people had their Halloween parties over the weekend, tonight is for the kids. And it’s Christmas Day for dentists.

In fact, we’ve received reports that one Midwestern law school had quite a smashing little Halloween shindig. According to a tipster: “The front entrance to the law school was a minefield of vomit puddles.”

A spooky minefield of vomit and puddles?

In response, the law school is now banning alcohol. Which wouldn’t sound so ridiculous if it didn’t expose the intense hypocrisy of the “business” of legal education…

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Happy Halloween! Please don’t sue us for scaring you.

They all come of their own free will. And they want to be scared, so complaining wouldn’t make sense.

– Stephen Hummel, an entrepreneur who runs a museum of paranormal occurrences and has worked in a haunted house for the past 13 years, commenting on the likelihood of people suing after receiving a major Halloween scare in the dark.

(In instances where people have sued over injuries, the courts usually rule in favor of the haunted houses in terms of assessing liability.)

Halloween is a little more than a week away, and everyone in the legal community is gearing up for the inevitable parade of naughty librarian and schoolgirl costumes.

As usual, here at Above the Law, we’re soliciting legally themed costumes for our annual Halloween contest. It’s always a lot of fun, and we’re always impressed with how creative lawyers and law students can be.

This year should be no different. Have you got what it takes to top the winners of years past?

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I see you all enjoyed your vacations. I saw the 175 pictures you posted on Facebook of every single place you went, and now I see you “can’t believe your baby is starting 7th grade.” So now that it’s time to get back to work and figure out what to do about all those clients calling you as a result of seeing you on the first page of Google, I will again offer you life-changing advice for which you come here weekly.

This advice is all real, and in no particular order.

1. If you have an office, or even a desk, take every single thing off the top. I did this the other day. Clean it, and then place everything back, except the stack of papers that belong in a file or the garbage, the magazines and articles you’re never going to read, and the items that do nothing but take up otherwise workable space. This will cost you no money, take about 15-20 minutes, and you will thank me. Well, not all of you…

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Why do law firms have a tendency to partake in racism despite — theoretically — understanding the laws that should discourage such behavior? Like “how many licks does it take to get to the center of a Tootsie Roll Tootsie Pop,” the world may never know.

In the meantime, ATL will be there to talk about it.

Like a law firm whose white management might hold an event for their black associates and serve fried chicken because… you know.

Racism. It’s a thing…

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Sheena Monnin

Ed. note: We hope that you had a great July 4th — and that you’re enjoying a four-day weekend. But if you’re at work today and looking for diversion, check us early and often — we will be posting today (although on a reduced publication schedule).

* Lawyer of the Day Long Weekend: Christopher Kirby, whose profanity-laced tirade at the mother of a special-education student during a school board meeting has gone viral. Stay classy, Chris. [New York Daily News]

* Speaking of classy, if you make Donald Trump look good, you’re doing it wrong. The $5 million arbitration award against former beauty queen Sheena Monnin just got upheld by Judge J. Paul Oetken (S.D.N.Y.). [New York Law Journal]

* Have you been injured in an accident? Call a New York State legislator, who might be earning a six-figure income by moonlighting at a personal-injury firm. [New York Times]

* Nationwide layoff watch: Dickstein dismisses seven partners in New York. [WestlawNext Practitioner Insights (sub. req.)]

* Who doesn’t love rule by lawyers? Adli Mansour, chief justice of the Supreme Constitutional Court of Egypt, takes over as the nation’s interim leader. [New York Times]

* If you’re feeling the heat in D.C. these days, lawyer turned ice cream entrepreneur Victoria Lai can help. [Washington Post]

Ed. note: In honor of the July 4th holiday, we do not expect to publish tomorrow. We will be back on Friday, July 5th, although on a reduced publication schedule.

* These are the five cases likely to come up after Fourth of July weekend. The “boating accidents” case reminds me of a poor teen clerk telling Homer Simpson that he couldn’t operate a boat while drunk and he responded, “Sounds like a wager to me!” [The Expert Institute]

* This lawyer is also a professional at shooting off fireworks. In this job market, it’s good to have a career to fall back on. [Indiana Lawyer]

* This is the holiday to go take in a baseball game. If you’re in Michigan, you can watch the Lansing Lugnuts vs. the Lake County Captains at Cooley Law School Stadium. Wait, Cooley has a stadium? [Battle Creek Enquirer]

* The Texas Criminal Defense Lawyers Association is planning a series of readings of the Declaration of Independence. You know, in case you have absolutely nothing to do in Texas tomorrow. [KLTV]

* On a similar note, in Massachusetts, there was an annual reading of Frederick Douglass’s famed take on the Fourth of July from the perspective of abolitionists. [Cape Cod Daily]

* In non-holiday news, the George Zimmerman trial ground to a halt today when Skype testimony was bombarded by pranksters constantly pinging the witness’s account. Video after the jump….

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Biglaw lawyers are a late-arriving crowd compared to their banking counterparts. It’s one of the few perks of the job. Lawyers work hard and have to be at the beck and call of their clients, but in this age of wireless connectivity, they don’t have to punch into a physical plant every morning like a common dock worker. Yay?

Grown adults can usually be trusted to manage their own time efficiently, but occasionally partners decide to crack the whip and demand that associates be physically in the office during “business hours.” Why? Who knows. Partners at MoFo did this a few years ago. It’s an office, dammit. People should be in theirs so I can sit in mine and say “come here,” and then I can hand them a document because I’m a partner and .pdfs frighten and confuse me!

Whatever, it’s the partners’ world, associates are just living in it. That’s why associates at the D.C. office of one Biglaw firm received two “demoralizing” emails this week — one that was kind of boasting how the entire firm was slammed, another that seemed to have no knowledge of the first one that instructed all of these slammed people to be tied to their desks….

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I am a lucky guy. I have two true partners in life: my mother and my wife. They each contribute to my happiness in different, but equally vital, ways. To them, I wish a Happy Mother’s Day.

Even though my mom does not know I write this column. When I write things related to my legal practice, I try and send her copies. But she is relatively new to email, and she is always busy between her kids and growing collection of grandchildren. I am not sure she reads what I send her. Nor is she that impressed with any of my career accomplishments. But that is fine, and truth is, she needn’t be. That is not the standard, just as my career accomplishments are not my standard for success in life. It is more important that she take pride in the family I have built, as that is truly my life’s work.

I am not qualified to talk about what being a mom in Biglaw is like (father, yes, as I have been a father for my entire Biglaw career). From observation, being a mom in Biglaw looks very difficult. It is one thing if you are a partner with teenage kids, and you went to law school after your kids reached grade-school age. Biglaw partner moms are generally a rare breed. What I see more often are associates and junior partners struggling to balance the demands of having and raising children with trying to advance in Biglaw. Very rarely are both objectives accomplished. I have tried to think about how I would feel if I was in such a situation. Unsuccessfully. Honestly, even if I was married to Oprah, I could never see myself playing stay-at-home dad, or even having primary responsibility for the children while trying to have a legal career. So I respect the mothers out there that are at least trying….

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