Yesterday was the tenth anniversary of the day a little-known heroin addict called Russell Brand turned up for work dressed as Osama Bin Laden, and was promptly fired by his then-employer, MTV.
After some ensuing years knocking around the lower echelons of British light entertainment, Brand got himself together and landed a role presenting the VMAs — from which he launched himself into mega-stardom when he branded George W. Bush a “retarded cowboy fella.”
Now, you don’t get career paths like that in law. Having said that, I do know of a London Biglaw associate who was once asked to replace his brightly-coloured socks with a more sober pair in advance of an important client meeting, in which he performed impressively.
Please don’t interpret that as a snarky suggestion that all lawyers are boring. As legal market-watchers well know, many attorneys — especially the litigators — are often anything but. They’re just good at hiding the madness. Usually, anyway….
* Ex-Marc Jacobs International CFO is suing the company for allegedly making him look at gay porn. Wait, you can sue people for that? [Fashionista]
* Monty, the Yale Law School Therapy Dog, is already being billed out to the max. How long before Monty develops a superiority complex and a coke habit? [NPR]
* Judge Judy was rushed to the hospital, but she’s okay. Phew, for a second I thought I was going to have to start watching Judge Joe Brown. [New York Post]
* The Bronx Zoo cobra has been recaptured. I thought the Dred Scott decision had been overturned, but apparently cobra wars have just begun. [Village Voice]
* Why would I need to drink a “Raging Bitch” when I could just go to Michigan and marry one? [Legal Blog Watch]
* Wisconsin Democrats don’t want to show up for work, Wisconsin Republicans don’t want to follow the law, and the state is basically a functional anarchy. Is @aaronrodgers12 waiting for a personal invitation to come fix this? Let’s go MVP, you don’t think we give out championship belts just for playing football do you? [WSJ Law Blog]
* Speaking of gays in the law, if you’re obsessing over Judge Vaughn Walker’s sexual orientation, stop it. Just stop it. [Huffington Post]
* First Rudolph Giuliani’s daughter gets busted shoplifting beauty products, and now the same thing happens with a former Miss USA. The lesson: beauty products are way too expensive. [CBS / Crimesider]
* You think legal outsourcing is only going to affect the lives of junior associates? As Larry Ribstein explains, it’s very likely that outsourcing will lead to a fundamental change in the way we regulate lawyers and law firms. [Forbes]
* The only person who can get away with acting like Judge Judy is Judge Judy. [Bad Lawyer]
* Ann Althouse thinks peep-toe shoes are just fine — and has fabulous taste in shoes herself, by the way. [Althouse]
* How come all of the top philanderers are men? That’s just sexist. [Law and More]
* California’s Supreme Court agreed to hear the case against Prop. 8. [Reuters]
* For all the associates who go crazy working late into the night in dark conference rooms dreaming of embezzling money from the firm–let this be a lesson to you. Employee Angela Marie Dees was arrested for stealing 1.67 million dollars from the California law firm Moore and Waxler. The crazy thing? The firm didn’t even notice until they did an audit. [mysuncoast.com]
* “Stung by outsize investment losses, some of the nation’s biggest companies are pushing Congress to roll back rules requiring them to put more money into their pension funds, just two years after President Bush signed a law meant to strengthen the pension system.” [NYT]
* A jury heard opening statements yesterday in the MySpace hoax case, the one where the suburban mother used a fake alias to terrorize a 13-year-old who killed herself as a result. [ABC]
* Even though bankers basically caused a world-wide recession causing thousands of lawyers to lose their jobs (thanks a lot), at least Barclay’s is giving the litigators some love. Barclay’s is suing a hedge fund for hiding $150 million in investments. [Bloomberg]
* Yesterday was National Toilet Day. Everybody who works on Wall Street already knew that. [UPI]
A Bronx judge had a court clerk’s wife handcuffed and tossed in a cell for contempt – because she whispered “a**hole” after her husband was kept late at work, a state panel has charged.
Family Court Judge Marian Shelton screamed at the woman, “He’ll leave when he’s finished his work, not when you tell him!” before ordering court officers to take her to a holding cell for the weekend….
Pretty awesome. Should we be surprised to learn that Judge Shelton’s wedding was presided over by another colorful and cantankerous New Yorker, then-Mayor Rudolph Giuliani?
Interesting enough, Judge Shelton is being eyed for elevation — but not to an appellate court. Details after the jump.
The Honorable James M. Brooks — a California trial judge and prior Judge of the Day honoree, with a history of getting himself into hotwater — might want to leave comedy to James L. Brooks.
Judge Brooks’s attempts at humor didn’t go over too well with the folks upstairs. From On Point News:
A California judge’s jocular behavior backfired as an appeals court ordered a new trial in an employment bias case, ruling that he had created a “circus atmosphere” and “a courtroom is not the Improv.”…
Brooks’s performance in the bias case against Ricoh Electronics suggests the CJP let him off lightly. The jury returned a defense verdict after a 31-day jury trial during which, the 4th District Court of Appeal said, the judge “allowed, indeed helped create, a circus atmosphere, giving defendants’ lawyer free rein to deride and make snide remarks at will and at the expense of plaintiffs and their lawyer.”
Among other things, Brooks flashed a hand-lettered sign saying “Overruled” when plaintiffs’ counsel Michelle A. Reinglass made objections. “It’s lightening things up,” he said when she objected to the sign.
The appellate court was not amused:
[A] courtroom is not the Improv and the presider’s role model is not Judge Judy. We can only imagine what was in the jurors’ minds as they endured a 30-plus day trial in this atmosphere or the impression of the judicial system they took away with them posttrial.
While we were in line at a coffee shop yesterday, footage from the Anna Nicole Smith case was playing on a television above the counter. The customer in front of us turned around and said: “That judge is CRAZY.”
We agree. Judge Larry Seidlin, of Broward Circuit Court, has to be the most ridiculous judge to preside over celebrity litigation since Judge Lance Ito.
If you haven’t been following the litigation, here’s a good CNN write-up:
Judge Larry Seidlin, with his distinctive Bronx honk, down-to-earth approach and plain language, is as much a part of the show in Broward Circuit Court as the case he is presiding over.
Seidlin is hearing arguments over the status of the earthly remains of recently deceased tabloid fixture Anna Nicole Smith. But arguments over child custody and paternity have made their way into the courtroom.
Some legal observers, and even one of the participants, say Seidlin has allowed the proceedings to become a circus.
E.g., Jeffrey Toobin, of CNN and the New Yorker:
“This may be the most ridiculous legal proceeding I have ever watched,” Toobin said. “This judge is one of the least competent judges I have ever seen. He is letting this thing meander all over creation, mostly because he seems to enjoy being on television.”
Court TV’s Lisa Bloom concurs, observing that it’s all “wearing a little thin.”
But legal affairs reporters aren’t the only ones with low opinions of Judge Seidlin:
According to the Miami Herald, 22 percent of the lawyers responding to the 2004 Broward County Bar poll found Seidlin unqualified.
A blog of the Justice Advocacy Association of Broward concludes that Seidlin is, among other things, a victim of “his inner comedian.”
We’ve all seen judges like this (and we’ve all laughed, with exaggerated loudness, at their jokes). CNN suggests a motive for Judge Seidlin’s hamming it up in the Anna Nicole Smith proceedings:
The judge’s offbeat folksiness combines the directness of a Judge Judy with the touchy-feely common sense of a Dr. Phil. He could be auditioning for his own television show….
“He’s very entertaining, there’s no question about it,” [said Court TV's Lisa Bloom]. “But it’s not about entertainment. At Court TV we keep in mind that these are real people here.”
This is confirmed by TMZ.com, which reports that “Judge Larry Seidlin’s dream is to become a judge on a TV courtroom show” — and notes that his surname “is extremely similar to Judge Judy Sheindlin.”
Here’s a telling fact: Judge Seidlin is a former New York cabbie. You know when you climb in a cab, with a splitting headache, and just want to sit back with your eyes closed — but the cabbie insists on talking your ear off? Judge Seidlin sounds like he was one of THOSE cabbies, back in the day.
Please, Your Honor — spare us. We’re not interested in your thoughts on the war in Iraq (referenced in a lengthy spiel on Wednesday).
Just drive. Thank you.
P.S. Not all taxicab drivers turned judges are so problematic. See, e.g., Thomas Hardiman (W.D. Pa.) — who drove a cab before going to law school. But Hardiman, of course, is a federal rather than state judge. If Anna Nicole Smith Case Is a Circus, Judge Is Ringmaster [CNN] All Rise!!! Judge Seidlin Says He’s Ready for TV [TMZ.com]
Listen up, Chief Justice Roberts! Here are two new arguments you can use to make the case for higher judicial pay.
1. From the Drudge Report:
According to Forbes, Judge Judy has a net worth of $95 million. She earns $25 million a year — over 100 times the Chief Justice’s salary. Random aside: Contrary to rumor, and despite their shared irascibility, Judge Judy Sheindlin (at left) and Judge Shira Scheindlin (S.D.N.Y.; at right) are NOT related. As you can see, their last names are spelled differently. Despite this difference, Judge Scheindlin of the Southern District regularly receives telephone calls from people in search of televised justice.
2. Because of his low pay, Justice Clarence Thomas has been reduced to eating at ESPN Sports Zone.
(Yes, we know, CT got a seven-figure advance for his memoirs. But when you enjoy Corvettes, luxury RVs, and fine cigars, the money goes fast.) Wonk’d: Barely Legal [Wonkette] The Richest 20 Women In Entertainment: Judith “Judge Judy” Sheindlin (#13) [Forbes]
In a land that is right here and in a time that is right now, a technology has arisen so powerful that it can replace basic human document review. Is it time to bow down before our new robot overlords?
First, here’s a little story about me: my life in the legal world began as a paralegal. My first case was a GIANT patent infringement case that was already six years old and had involved as many as five companies, multiple US courts, the ITC and an international standards committee. I knew nothing about any of this.
On my first day, my supervisor (a paralegal with at least eight other cases driving her crazy) sat me down in front of a Concordance database with a 100,000+ patents and patent file histories. “Code these,” she said. I learned that “coding”, for the purposes of this exercise, meant manually typing the inventor’s name, the title of the patent, the assignee, the file date, and other objective data for each document. I worked on that project – and only that project – for at least the first six months of my job. After a week or so, time began to blur.
What I know, in retrospect and with absolutely certainty, is that as time began to blur, so did my judgment. So did my attention to detail. If you could tell me that I did not make at least one mistake a day – one inconsistent spelling, one reversed day and month, one incorrectly spaced title – I frankly would need to see your evidence. I would not believe it. The human mind is trainable but it is not a machine.
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We currently have a number of active openings for associate roles at US and UK firms in HK / China, Singapore and two new in-house openings. As always, please feel free to reach out to us at email@example.com in order to get details of current openings in Asia, as well as to discuss the Asia markets in general and what we expect for openings later this year. Our Evan Jowers and Robert Kinney will be in Beijing the week of March 25 and Evan Jowers will be in Hong Kong the week of April 1, if you would like to meet them in person.
The US associate openings we have in law firms are in the usual areas of M&A, cap markets, FCPA / white collar litigation, finance, and project finance. The most urgent of our top tier (top 15 US or magic circle) law firm openings in Asia (among many other firm openings that we have in Asia) are as follows:
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