Remember Judge William M. “Chip” Watkins III? He’s the temperamental West Virginia jurist who was recorded on video yelling at — and we mean literally yelling at, not just “scolding” or “raising his voice at” — a pastor. In another case, Judge Watkins called a woman seeking a protective order against her husband “stupid,” criticizing her for “shooting off [her] fat mouth about what happened.”
Last summer, Judge Watkins was hit with expedited ethics charges. This week, the West Virginia Supreme Court issued its ruling. What do you think happened? Take a guess….
If I ever go on a killing spree where I murder racist white people, I’m going to do it while wearing an expensive, tailored business suit. My racist victims will never see it coming. Because if there’s one thing I’ve learned about racist white people (as opposed to white people generally), it’s that they seem to be OBSESSED with how minority males dress. If you interviewed a casual, “don’t call me racist” racist, it’d go like this:
YOU: Do you think you can judge people based on the color of their skin?
RACIST: Just the skin?
RACIST: Well, like, probably not?
YOU: What about the clothes they wear?
RACIST: And their race? Clothes and race together??
RACIST: I mean [fidgeting] like [sweating] COME ON! If a WHITE GUY was dressed like one of those ni… urban youths, I’d judge him.
YOU: Yeah. And? So that makes it okay?
RACIST: EXACTLY! Just look at them. You can tell.
Sorry, I made that last line up. In the real world, when a judge is playing the role of “Don’t Call Me Racist,” the line is: “You can tell by their dress and attitude.” Truth is more prejudiced than fiction….
Being a federal judge is like being a professional boxer: you have to know when it’s time to hang up the robe. (Yes, pare, I’m talking to you, Congressman Pacquiao.)
How does a federal judge know when it’s time to retire (not just senior status, but complete and total retirement)? Well, how about when he starts making bizarre, offensive, and racially charged comments — on the record?
Surely you remember all of the hubbub about Rep. Todd Akin’s wacky theory on rape and human reproduction. In case you don’t remember what he said this summer, here are his vomitous and uninformed thoughts (or lack thereof) on pregnancy as a result of rape: “[T]hat’s really rare. If it’s a legitimate rape, the female body has ways to try to shut that whole thing down.” This, from a man who’s an outgoing member of the House Science and Technology Committee.
If nothing else, his blunder resulted in some great joke fodder — a law student even got to define “legitimate rape” on Urban Dictionary. But alas, it seems that we can no longer credit Todd Akin with being the first to remark on the female anatomy’s amazing (and non-existent) ability to “shut that whole thing down” in the event of rape.
You see, a judge in California said pretty much the same thing in 2008, and though it earned some coverage then, the rest of the media is just now getting its grubby little hands on the details, due to the slowness of the California Commission on Judicial Performance in issuing a disciplinary ruling….
The Alabama Crimson Tide are back in the BCS title game. Any moment, we expect SEC lawyers with poor time management skills to start asking judges for continuances so they can go to Miami to support their team. It’s happened before, Roll Tide.
I’m not expecting Notre Dame trained lawyers to totally freak out in the next month. I trust them to figure out how to manage their professional and fanatical responsibilities without needing continuances and extensions. Aren’t most Golden Domers in your life competent even while they’re insufferable?
In any event, one judge in Florida isn’t waiting to see if lawyers are going to need extra time this holiday season; instead he’s giving it out sua sponte. And really, I basically had this idea last year for all judges in SEC country….
Remember Judge Wade McCree? How could you not! He’s the Michigan jurist who received our Judge of the Day honors back in April for sending nearly-nude photos of himself to one of his female bailiffs via sext message. When confronted with the issue, McCree told a Fox Detroit reporter he had “no shame in [his] game.” When confronted by the Michigan Supreme Court, McCree was issued a censure for bringing shame to the judiciary, if not himself.
Now, you’d think that the good judge would clean up his act after a brush with the law, but of course, you’d be wrong. We wonder if he’s got any shame in his game now that his alleged affair with a litigant has been exposed for all the world to see.
And you really won’t believe where this woman claims they got it on, repeatedly….
If there were such a thing as the perfect benchslap, this would probably be it. It comes from the great state of Texas, where federal judges are prone to calling attorneys stupid attention whores, where invitations to “kindergarten parties” are issued to lawyers who can’t be civil with their adversaries, and where judges order each other to “shut up” in open court.
And now, for your viewing pleasure, we present this gem….
Back in July, we brought our readers a story about an Illinois judge who had allegedly been using his courthouse computer to view hardcore pornography while in chambers. Most would’ve lodged an objection to the judge’s alleged behavior, because after all, he could’ve waited until he got home to sate his supposed desire for untoward viewing pleasures, just like everyone else.
After the inception of a judicial ethics inquiry, some of the porn sites the judge visited were revealed by a Chicago-area newspaper (and based on his pervy predilections, it seems the good jurist is a chubby chaser). But alas, the only thing the judge is chasing now are his hopes of keeping himself on the bench.
Late last week, the alleged porn procurer found himself before the Illinois Courts Commission (ICC) to defend his honor and his livelihood. During the hearing, the judge confessed to many of his sins, and revealed the reason why he couldn’t wait until he was within the comforts of his own home to visit his favorite XXX sites….
It’s really hard giving up things you like — things like cigarettes, alcohol, or drugs — but when the time comes, and that time will come, you’ve got to do it, and sometimes you won’t even have choice in the matter. Perhaps you don’t have the money to finance your vices anymore. Perhaps you’ve decided you have an addiction, and it’s time to seek help. Or maybe you’re facing jail time, and a judge is offering you a way out.
But again, it’s really hard giving up things you like. Like really, really hard. So hard, that when pressed to give up, say, smoking pot, you’d ask a judge if you could have one more joint before you quit. Come on, judge, it’s just one more, what’s the big deal?
Well, contrary to popular belief, it is a big deal when you ask a judge’s permission to smoke weed when you’re in her courtroom on a drug trafficking charge….
If you are considering a virtual law practice, you know that many of today’s solo firms started that way. But why are established, multi-attorney law firms going virtual?
Many small firms are successfully moving part—or even all—of their practice to a virtual setting. This even includes multi-jurisdictional practice spanning several states and practice areas, although solo and small partnerships are still the largest adopters of virtual law.
Can you do the same? The new article Mobile in Practice, Virtual by Design from author Jared Correia, Esq., explores how mobile technology bring real-life benefits to a small law firm. Read this new article—the next in Thomson Reuters’ Independent Thinking series for small firms—to explore how a mobile practice:
Reduces malpractice risk
Enables you to gather the best attorneys to fit the firm, regardless of each person’s geographic location
Leverages mobile devices and cloud technology to enable on-the-spot client and prospect communication
Transitioning in-house is something many (if not most) firm lawyers find themselves considering at some point. For many, it’s the first step in their career that isn’t simply a function of picking the best option available based on a ranking system.
Unknown territory feels high-risk, and can have the effect of steering many of us towards the well-greased channels into large, established companies.
For those who may be open to something more entrepreneurial, there is far less information available. No recruiter is calling every week with offers and details.
In sponsorship with Betterment, ATL and David Lat will moderate a panel about life in-house and we’ll hear from GCs at Birchbox, Gawker Media, Squarespace, Bonobos, and Betterment. Drinks, snacks, networking, and a great time guaranteed. Invite your colleagues, but RSVP fast, as space is limited.
Ed. note: The Asia Chronicles column is authored by Kinney Recruiting. Kinney has made more placements of U.S. associates, counsels and partners in Asia than any other recruiting firm in each of the past seven years. You can reach them by email: firstname.lastname@example.org.
It’s that time of year again when JDs are starting to apply for 2L summer jobs and 2L summers are deciding which practice area to focus on.
For those JDs with an interest in potentially lateraling to or transferring to Asia in the future, please feel free to reach out to Kinney for advice on firm choices, interviewing and practice choices, relating to future marketability in Asia, or for a general discussion on your particular Asia markets of interest. This is of course a free of cost service for those who some years in the future may be our future industry contacts or perhaps even clients.
For some years now Kinney’s Asia head, Evan Jowers, has been formally advising Harvard Law students with such questions, as the Asia expert in Harvard Law’s “Ask The Experts Market Program” each summer and fall, with podcasts and scheduled phone calls. This has been an enjoyable and productive experience for all involved.