hp logo revised.gifWe are guilty of dereliction of duty. We’ve neglected to write about the Hewlett-Packard leak investigation scandal, now unfolding in all of its glory before Congress. (Yes, that Congress: a body that knows all about unethical behavior, illegal conduct, and mind-blowing stupidity.)
We’ve been avoiding this scandal for two main reasons. First, it’s a story that Peter Lattman and the WSJ Law Blog have really owned from the get-go. In fact, today Lattman is hanging out in Washington — our usual base of operations — to cover the House committee hearings on Capitol Hill. (Guess we’ve traded places; we’re up here in New York, a few blocks away from Lattman’s office.)
Second, L’Affaire HP has been such a total s**t show — from the very start, but somehow managing to get worse each day — that blogging about it presents no challenge. There’s very little opportunity for us to add value. Reading wire reports about the scandal is already pretty mortifying (and entertaining). Do you really need a side order of obnoxious commentary when the entree itself is so rich?
But HP is the big news story of the day. It’s one that our big brother is covering extensively. And we’ve received a bunch of emails asking for our thoughts on it. So fine, we will write about the HP spying scandal.
Actually, guess what? We just did. Fancy that!
DealBreaker’s HP coverage
WSJ Law Blog’s HP coverage
House Pursues Inquiry as H.P. Counsel Quits [New York Times]

brangelina branjelina.jpgHey, it’s not yet noon — so we can still call this “Morning Docket.”
(Sorry for the delay. But if you care about actual legal news, as opposed to our crude musings on them, you really should go here or here instead.)
* BREAKING: Ann Baskins just resigned as general counsel of HP. And her lawyer, K. Lee Blalack 2nd of O’Melveny & Myers, said that she will not answer questions at today’s congressional hearings into the HP leak investigation scandal. [New York Times]
* Apparently Namibia is good for things other than harboring baby-bearing celebrities. Kobi Alexander — who is not an NBA player, but the ex-CEO of Comverse Technology — has been found in the African nation. As you may recall, after he was indicted on federal criminal charges arising out of alleged options backdating, Alexander became a fugitive. [Wall Street Journal via WSJ Law Blog]
* Not all internet sickos are creepy white men like John Mark Karr. There are a few ladies out there, too. [Pittsburgh Post-Gazette via How Appealing]
* Federal prosecutors are looking into whether Jeanine Pirro, anti-porn prosecutrix and the Republican candidate for New York attorney general, illegally taped conversations of her husband, to figure out if he was having (another) affair. Her partner in (possible) crime: Bernard Kerik, the former New York City police commissioner and ill-fated pick for DHS Secretary. [New York Times]
(Anyone have a link to the tapes? We heard them on the news this morning, and Pirro repeatedly drops the F-bomb. It’s pretty awesome.)
* The long and tortuous path to legislation governing the treatment of terror detainees may be reaching an end — and not a moment too soon, since this story is kinda hard to follow. And a bit boring. And torture generally doesn’t lend itself to humor opportunities. But see here. [New York Times; How Appealing (linkwrap)]
* We described the HP leak investigation scandal as a “made-for-television movie” well before Rep. Dianna Degette (D. Colo.) did. [WSJ Law Blog]

* We’re several days late on this; but it’s just as well. We’re not touching this controversy (see photo below) with the proverbial 10-foot pole. [Althouse; Feministing; Althouse; Feministing]
But just out of curiosity, ATL readers, what’s your first reaction to this photo of Bill Clinton and a group of bloggers? Please place your responses in the comments to this post.
clinton with bloggers.jpg
* HP looked into having spies infiltrate the offices of CNET and the Wall Street Journal by posing as clerical employees or cleaning crew members. This scandal gets more insane by the day. [DealBreaker]
* Have an iron stomach? Looking for a quick way to make $75,000? [TortsProf Blog]
* We agree with Professor Dimino’s students — we’ll take a statutory class over Con Law any day of the week. [PrawfsBlawg]
* Lawyers don’t have a monopoly on mumbo jumbo. [Securities Litigation Watch via DealBreaker]
* It’s about time: Washington women get on the footwear bandwagon. [Washington Post]

stephen breyer justice.jpg* The Judicial Conference of the United States, the policy-making body for the federal judiciary (but not the SCOTUS), has announced measures to improve the judiciary’s self-policing and public accountability. They include required installation of “conflict checking” software — get with it, Your Honors, that’s long overdue — and enhanced disclosure concerning judicial junkets. [New York Times; Washington Post]
* Speaking of judicial naughtiness, a commission headed by Justice Stephen G. Breyer has concluded that the Ninth Circuit mishandled its investigation of Judge Manuel Real — who is now facing an impeachment inquiry. [Los Angeles Times via How Appealing]
* The latest news in L’Affaire HP: Lawyers all around! HP general counsel Ann Baskins has retained white-collar specialist Cristina Arguedas, and Larry Sonsini has retained Michael Madigan, of Akin Gump. [The Recorder; WSJ Law Blog]
* Trying to come up with legislation to govern interrogation and treatment of terror suspects: Still a big ol’ mess. Wake us up when something’s actually accomplished. [Washington Post; New York Times]

larry w sonsini.jpg* More back-and-forth between the Bush Administration and Congress concerning rules to govern the interrogation of terror suspects. The White House sent Congress a revised proposal last night; a deal could be reached by the end of this week. [Washington Post]
* More developments in the HP leak investigation scandal. The most interesting: even Larry Sonsini (at right), HP’s lead outside lawyer, was pretexted as part of the probe. Heh. [WSJ Law Blog]
* Former Enron exec David Delainey is sentenced to two-and-a-half years in prison. [Houston Chronicle via WSJ Law Blog]
* Freelance video journalist and blogger Josh Wolf, who refused to comply with a grand jury subpoena seeking his footage of a political protest, is headed back to jail. [Associated Press]
* Judge Manuel Real (C.D. Cal.) will testify before Congress in response to GOP efforts to impeach him. (Judge Real, by the way, is quite a character; we’ll probably have more to say about this later.) [Daily Journal via How Appealing]

david souter.jpg* Another day, another deepening of the doo-doo over at HP. Now the plot is taking on a “made-for-television-movie” feel: “[D]etectives tried to plant software on at least one journalist’s computer that would enable messages to be traced.” [New York Times]
* National security adviser Stephen Hadley indicates that the White House is trying to reach a compromise with Republican Senators over what the CIA can and cannot do when interrogating terror suspects. [New York Times]
* A medical examiner hired by successful Supreme Court litigant Anna Nicole Smith performed a second autopsy on Smith’s 20-year-old son over the weekend. The cause of death has not yet been determined, but heart disease, stroke, or a “congenital anomaly” have been ruled out. [Associated Press]
* Options backdating defendant William Sorin was outside general counsel at Comverse Technology — a rather unusual arrangement. Sorin was awarded millions of dollars worth of stock options, even though he wasn’t even a salaried employee of the company. [Corporate Counsel]
* A happy 67th birthday to Justice David H. Souter. And some advice: Don’t eat that cupcake sent over by Ann Coulter, even if she did stick a cute little candle in it. [How Appealing]

anna nicole smith.jpg* Anna Nicole Smith, the buxom ex-Playmate and victorious Supreme Court litigant, supports a formal inquest into the mysterious death of her 20-year-old son, Daniel Wayne Smith. [Associated Press]
* SCOTUS groupies, rejoice: Same-day transcripts of Supreme Court oral arguments will be made available, for free, on the Court’s website. [Washington Post; SCOTUSblog]
* The Pennsylvania Supreme Court strikes down the legislature’s attempted repeal of judicial pay raises as unconstitutional. As a result, Pennsylvania Supreme Court justices’ salaries will increase to about $171,000, and Common Please judges’ salaries will increase to almost $150,000. Not bad for being an icky state court judge. [How Appealing (linkwrap)]
* Boy that was fast: notorious plaintiffs’ lawyer William Lerach, a former partner at the indicted law firm Milberg Weiss, has filed a derivative lawsuit against the HP board. [The Recorder via WSJ Law Blog]
* Michael “Under God” Newdow, the Energizer Bunny of questionable litigation, is at it again. [Law.com]
* More wrangling between the White House and Congressional Republicans over military tribunals and permissible interrogation methods for terror suspects. We hope this gets resolved soon, ’cause our attention span just isn’t that long. [New York Times]

viet dinh.jpgThe recent HP leak investigation scandal has drawn into the spotlight a legal celebrity of the first rank: Viet Dinh. Dinh represents venture capitalist god Thomas Perkins, in Perkins’s (rather tense) dealings with HP’s board and lawyers.
Dinh, for those of you visiting from other planets, is one of the highest-flying legal eagles in the country. He’s a former high-ranking official at the Justice Department, current professor at Georgetown Law, and former Supreme Court clerk (to Justice Sandra Day O’Connor).
Despite his platinum-plated résumé, Dinh is a grabby l’il guy. Here’s the lede of Anna Schneider-Mayerson’s very interesting profile of Dinh, in the New York Observer:

On the fifth anniversary of the Sept. 11 attacks, Viet Dinh, one of the lead architects of the controversial Patriot Act, was standing in his Washington, D.C., office, waxing poetic about Supreme Court Justice Sandra Day O’Connor.

“Justice O’Connor, I love her so much,” the 38-year-old law professor said. “I love her so much. She’s the best.”

As if to return the compliment, her image, in the form of a photo portrait signed to her former clerk “with respect and affection,” smiled back at him.

Hugs all around!

The effusive Dinh is, according to Schneider-Mayerson, “an avid and nonpartisan hugger.” As he readily admits, “I always hug [conservative lawyer] Ted Olson and [ACLU executive director] Anthony Romero,” he said.
Does this surprise us? Not in the least. Learn why, after the jump.

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “Viet Dinh: Still As Cuddly As Ever”

musical chairs above the law legal blog above the law legal tabloid above the law legal gossip site.GIFWe have oodles and oodles of moves — some actual, and some rumored — to share with you today.
Lateral Moves:
* Antitrust lawyer Jeffrey Brennan and mass torts/products liability lawyer Kathleen O’Connor, to Dechert, from the FTC and Merck, respectively.
(Can O’Connor be the “Countess of Toxic Torts”? The title of “Queen of Toxic Torts” is already taken — by Skadden’s Sheila Birnbaum, with whom we are obsessed.)
* Leveraged finance lawyer Christina Ungeheuer, to Latham & Watkins (Frankfurt), from Milbank Tweed (Frankfurt).
* William Nordwind (legislative and government affairs) and Michael Volpe (labor), to Venable, from Capitol Hill (an interminable subcommittee name) and Clifton Budd, respectively.
* Financial restructuring lawyer Stephen Peppiatt, to Bingham McCutchen (London), from Shearman & Sterling.
* Trusts and estates lawyer Kenneth Page, to Hughes Hubbard & Reed, from Coudert Brothers (where he headed their T&E practice).
Also, here’s more detail about a move that we wrote about last week — the move of Dennis Orr and three colleagues from Mayer Brown (NY) to Morrison & Foerster (NY).
Shoes Waiting to Drop?
* Over at scandal-ridden computing giant HP, Ann Baskins “remains employed by the company as general counsel.” But her days may be numbered. (The commenters at the WSJ Law Blog are certainly calling for her head.) [WSJ Law Blog]
Think Tanks:
* William Gale has been named Vice President and Director, Economic Studies, at the Brookings Institution.
NY Lawyers Switching Firms [NYLawyer.com]
MoFo New York hires four-partner litigation team from Mayer Brown [Legal Week Student]
H-P Mess Casts Harsh Spotlight on Ann Baskins [WSJ Law Blog]
Gale Named VP & Director of Economic Studies at Brookings [TaxProf Blog]

* Law professors remember 9/11. [TaxProf Blog]
* Heh, now we know what the law clerk to retired Justice O’Connor will be working on. [SCOTUSblog]
* HP and Wilson Sonsini: in bed together? [WSJ Law Blog]
* But enough about you; let’s talk about us. [FishBowl DC]

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