Lawyer of the Day

Yes, I get that June 14th is a little bit late to be doing the May Lawyer of the Month poll. Yes, I also understand that the person who will almost undoubtedly be June’s Playmate Lawyer of the Month, Reema Bajaj, is ineligible for May — and that fact might leave some of our readers with blue balls.

But you know what? There were some really interesting candidates for May. And they deserve their moment of fame/infamy on these pages. Not every lawyer has to allegedly sell vaginal access in order to be special.

For instance, some people can become famous simply with an attempt at sexual trespass….

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Anyone who is a lawyer knows that sinking feeling. The feeling that comes when someone else finds out you’re a lawyer and starts telling you about whatever garden-variety awfulness has visited their lives. They prattle on about who knows what, because you’ve tuned out. But they keep going and the inevitable finally arrives at the end of their embarrassing story. “So you’re a lawyer. What should I do?”

If you’re quick-witted enough to come up with a response and slow-footed enough not to run away, you tell them that there are lawyers with really big advertisements in the yellow pages who could probably help them out. You grab your pizza rolls, Funyuns, and Olde English, and you slowly back out of the store.

This is what you do when you’re wise enough to know that being a lawyer doesn’t mean you can tackle any legal quandary or situation. When you know that there are situations better served by better lawyers. This is what you do when you are not named Jose Baez.

Baez has made quite the name for himself as the attorney for Casey Anthony. She’s the chick accused of killing her daughter, and Baez is the freshly minted lawyer who thinks he has the right stuff to keep her from being executed by the state of Florida.

Spoiler alert: Jose Baez does not appear to have the right stuff, at least in my opinion. After the jump, learn a bit about Señor Baez, his kooky past, and his unwavering commitment to himself…

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Today brings more news coverage of Reema Bajaj, the rather attractive 25-year-old lawyer accused of moonlighting as a prostitute. Her story was written up in the Chicago Sun-Times and the Chicago Tribune, among other outlets.

Both papers covered the newest development in the case, a court hearing yesterday. Bajaj pleaded not guilty to three counts of prostitution (two misdemeanors and one felony), according to her lawyer, David Camic of Aurora, Illinois.

I have previously expressed my gut instinct that Reema Bajaj is innocent. Maybe I’m guilty of judging a book by its cover, but she just looks innocent — youthful and sweet and wide-eyed. She is a young Midwestern woman, of South Asian ancestry, who grew up in the suburbs of Chicago. It doesn’t get much more wholesome than that.

And now I don’t have to rely solely upon racial stereotyping vague intuitions. Now I have additional evidence, from several sources — including a law school classmate of Reema Bajaj….

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This may be a sad commentary on the challenges facing young lawyers today. A 25-year-old solo practitioner in Sycamore, Illinois, has been accused of trying to supplement her income through prostitution.

Last week, attorney Reema N. Bajaj was charged with three counts of prostitution. The charges arise out of two incidents that allegedly took place on August 13, 2010, and May 10, 2011. But police allege that Bajaj has been engaging in prostitution activity for several years, even before she was admitted to the Illinois bar.

As it turns out, Reema Bajaj is a rather pretty woman. In light of her attractiveness — see pics after the jump — it’s surprising how little she was allegedly charging for her services….

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People who park like this should be forced to walk.

Remember the judge who was indicted for keying his neighbor’s car? Well, we’ve got another alleged incident of vehicular vandalism in the legal community, and this one is just dripping with spite.

According to published reports, a lawyer in Seattle has been accused of keying cars and leaving threatening notes on improperly parked vehicles.

I hate bad parking as much as the next guy, unless the next guy is this guy….

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April’s Lawyer of the Month victor won in a landslide. He’s also the first person to win the contest for his practice of law (as opposed to his death or his desire to quit the practice of law).

Yes, I think I speak for all legal bloggers out there by wishing April’s Lawyer of the Month a warm congratulations…

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Andrew Shirvell (far right) and Chris Armstrong

Here’s a quick update on a past Lawsuit of the Day. Last month, Chris Armstrong, the openly gay ex-president of the University of Michigan student body, sued Andrew Shirvell, the former Michigan assistant attorney general and outspoken opponent of homosexuality. As you may recall, Shirvell criticized Armstrong in a blog called Chris Armstrong Watch, making allegations that according to Armstrong were false, and Shirvell also followed Armstrong around Ann Arbor. So Armstrong sued Shirvell for stalking, invasion of privacy, and defamation (among other claims).

Now Andrew Shirvell is firing back. Last week, Shirvell, proceeding pro se [FN1], moved to dismiss Chris Armstrong’s lawsuit.

Not surprisingly, Shirvell claimed in his motion to be a victim: “Plaintiff’s course of conduct was politically motivated and intended to make an example out of Defendant in order to deter others from criticizing Plaintiff’s homosexual activist agenda.” More specifically, Shirvell argued that certain counts of the Armstrong complaint fail to state claims upon which relief can be granted, that Shirvell’s criticism of Armstrong was protected by the First Amendment, and that Shirvell never had direct contact with Armstrong (e.g., by email or by phone).

In addition, Shirvell lodged some counterclaims against Armstrong. What is the basis for Shirvell suing Armstrong?

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We’re a little bit late with April’s lawyer of the month reader poll. First of all, we’ve been doing a lot of reader voting so far in this month. (There are still a few hours for you to vote in our Law Revue Video Contest.)

The other reason why we’re a bit delinquent this month is because we think we know who is going to win. It’s not every day that a recent law grad finds himself trying a murder case — and getting reprimanded by the judge for “lack[ing] knowledge of proper trial procedure.”

Such is life during the Obama “recovery.” Check out this month’s nominees below…

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Don't sucker punch David Prater.

Oklahoma County District Attorney David Prater: you, sir, are poised to receive the coveted “everybody now knows you’re a bad ass” award. Expect your phone call from Badass-in-Chief President Obama shortly.

The story from the Oklahoman (gavel bang: ABA Journal) starts off in scary fashion. A defendant, Emanuel “E Man” Mitchell, took a swing at prosecutor Prater, after the jury found E-Man guilty of felony murder. Prater never saw the punch coming.

But that wasn’t the end of the fight….

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Toronto partner David Cowling, exonerated booty dancer.

Toronto partner David Cowling, exonerated booty dancer

Back in January 2009, a moot court after-party hosted by Mathews, Dinsdale & Clarke got wild enough to spark allegations of sexual harassment. Canadians do know how to party, eh? The “night of debauchery” has haunted David Cowling ever since; he was one of the partners accused of getting overly friendly with female associates and law students, while gettin’ jiggy.

He says that an internal law firm investigation cleared him of charges of inappropriate dance floor behavior, but that the firm refused to make that public, leading to rumors continuing to swirl in his work and social communities in Toronto. Oh, and have we mentioned that David Cowling specializes in labor and employment law? “If I were a personal injury lawyer, sexual harassment rumors would not be such a bad mark on my professional reputation,” says Cowling.

So he filed a libel suit against Adrian Jakibchuk and Sarah Diebel, the two associates who accused him of doing the really funky chicken on the dance floor. Apparently, they don’t study the Barbara Streisand effect in Canadian law schools. That got the allegations splashed across Canadian newspapers and here at ATL.

But now he’s got his name cleared, with a public statement from his prior firm, along with a seven-figurish settlement. He started a new firm and dropped his lawsuit against his accusers, and has a few things to say about his side of the story.

So say you’re the law student who supposedly got felt up by a partner on the dance floor, and his lawyer calls you up in the middle of exam week to talk about it. Yeah, that’s awkward. And Cowling sent along the transcript…

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