Litigatrix

Fred Fielding Fred F Fielding White House Counsel Wiley Rein & Fielding Above the Law.jpgWe previously wrote about President Bush’s selection of Fred Fielding as his new White House counsel. Our coverage was based on a pre-announcement scoop by Time, not an actual announcement from the White House.
Just to close the loop on this, the rumor was correct: Fielding’s selection is now official. Here’s the (predictably bland) White House press release.
From the New York Times:

Mr. Fielding’s agreement to take the job surprised some of his closest friends. The friends said last week, when his name surfaced as a contender for the position, that they would be surprised if he would give up a successful corporate practice for another stint of what promises to be heavy partisan battle at age 67.

Mr. Fielding was deputy counsel to President Richard M. Nixon under John W. Dean III and was White House counsel for the first five years of Ronald Reagan’s presidency.

Further discussion, plus speculation about the next Deputy White House Counsel, after the jump.

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “‘Tis Official: Fred Fielding Is In the House”

Golden Gate Bridge San Francisco Eumi Choi Eumi Choi Above the Law.jpgWe have been begging you for dirty laundry to air about the U.S. Attorney’s Office in San Francisco (Northern District of California). From what we hear, the high-profile office is in a state of turmoil. First Assistant U.S. Attorney Eumi Choi has been trying to quell a line-assistant rebellion that has been described as “the best-coordinated insurgency outside of Iraq.”
We don’t care whether you’re part of the pro-Eumi Choi or anti-Eumi Choi faction. We’re not taking sides here. We just want the inside scoop on the internal warfare, plotting and backstabbing going on over there right now. It’s for entertainment purposes only (because few things are more entertaining than workplace drama).
Thus far, you’ve been holding out on us. That’s okay; we have other sources. Like judges’ chambers:

I worked for a judge in the Northern District of California, where [U.S. Attorney] Kevin Ryan’s main office is. Although I haven’t had any personal contact with the USA [himself], I remember the AUSAs and their law externs who would appear before my judge were particularly unruly, talkative and disrespectful in the court.

A number of times, my judge would be trying to talk in court over the hum of their own personal discussions. When it got out of hand, he would stop, glare at them over his glasses, and it would be about a minute before they realized that the judge wanted them to shut up.

Other times, the judge would have to say, “Counsel!” Then the oblivious AUSAs would look up like contrite 5th graders. They also argued a lot amongst themselves in the hallways and, indeed, acted very much like children.

So it’s not just “line AUSAs vs. the front office”; the line assistants can’t even get along with each other. Not good.
We remain interested in goings-on over at the U.S. Attorney’s Office in the N.D. Cal. Please email us with any information you might have. Thanks.
Earlier: How Yummy Is Eumi?
What Part of “Fabulous” Do You Not Understand?

Beyonce Beyonce Beyonce Above the Law ATL.gifLawyers often draw a distinction between their “legal persona” and their “private-life persona.” A lawyer might be a tiger in the courtroom, but a pussycat in social interactions. For more examples, see here.
Writers and bloggers sometimes also exhibit a “split personality.” A writer who is belligerent in the blogosphere might be mild-mannered in person.
There appears to be a similar divide between the “performing” and “real-life” personalities of our beloved Beyonce:

Beyoncé Knowles is known for being sexy, seductive and provocative when she performs on stage, but she says that’s not really her; that’s her alter ego Sasha.

“I wouldn’t like Sasha if I met her offstage.” Beyoncé tells Parade Magazine in an article for the upcoming issue.

She said Sasha is “too aggressive, too strong, too sassy, too sexy!

An odd question that we’ll toss out for your consideration: Which celebrity best captures your lawyering personality? Or, put another way, if a movie were being made about your legal career, who should be cast as you, and why?
A strange inquiry; not sure if we’ll get any responses. Drafting merger agreements isn’t very cinematic. But if you have any thoughts on this, please share them in the comments.
(An example: One of our favorite partners — alas, we didn’t work with her as much as we would have liked — was a magnificient blonde litigatrix. She was smart, tough, and sexy, and she was the lawyerly embodiment of Heather Locklear.)
Beyoncé On Love, Depression And Reality [CBS News]
Your legal persona versus your private-life persona [ABA Journal eReport]

Golden Gate Bridge San Francisco Eumi Choi Eumi Choi Above the Law.jpgWe enjoy reading your comments. Well, some of them. See, e.g., here, here, and here.
But some we find rather mystifying. Like this comment on How Yummy Is Eumi?, our profile of high-powered federal prosecutor Eumi Choi, First Assistant U.S. Attorney for the Northern District of California (San Francisco).
Commenter “Barbara” wrote:

This post, like the SF Weekly article it references, was planted by a group of disgruntled (and racist) former and current AUSAs who constitute the best-coordinated insurgency outside of Iraq. They are a group of uppity Caucasians hell-bent on controlling the U.S. Attorney’s Office. They hate Eumi because she is Asian — and ergo, is not one of them.

Note how this posting focuses on Eumi’s race. Many of the insurgents’ private talk about Eumi is also borderline racist — e.g., referring her as “Dragon Lady.” Interestingly, these insurgent AUSAs who now whine about having to “follow directions” were themselves the most autocratic dictators around during the Shapiro/Mueller administration, when THEY were in power.

Even more interesting is how very little anyone discusses the impoverished morals of the insurgent AUSAs. Four of them had affairs with other AUSAs while married to other people. One of the harshest critics of Eumi and Kevin Ryan left his pregnant wife for another AUSA. Everyone is so fascinated by the fact of a powerful Asian female being under attack that nobody — least of all the legal press, which is incapable of anything other than acting as a mouthpiece for the disgruntled — has paid any heed to the fact that the Caucasian stonethrowers are themselves living in brittle glass houses.

We don’t understand this commenter’s ire towards our post. We praised Eumi Choi as a “tough, smart, no-nonsense” prosecutor, as well as a “strong Asian woman.” We also described her as “fabulous” and “yummy.” What part of that was unclear?
(Also, for the record, we’re Asian ourselves — and were raised by a mom who’s a lot like Eumi Choi. So we obviously have no problems with powerful Asian females or Asian lawyers in positions of power.)
Despite our issues with this comment, we did enjoy the dirt it dished out — especially the allegations of extramarital affairs galore. The U.S.A.O. for the N.D. Cal. sounds as incestuous, fractious, and trashily dysfunctional as “Melrose Place.”
If you have more juicy gossip about the U.S. Attorney’s Office in San Francisco — concerning Eumi Choi, her adversaries, or the battles going on between them — please do share with us.
(Hint to people who want to buy us a Christmas gift: the first season of “Melrose Place” is now out on DVD.)
Earlier: How Yummy Is Eumi?

In case you’re not familiar with it — and we’re guessing you’re not — check out urbancougar.com (probably safe for work, although the IT people might snicker around you). Here is the website’s mission statement:

urbancougar: it’s not a stigma, it’s a sophisticated species of female who seeks the pleasure of younger males. She avoids the entanglements of a “relationship,” in favor of the freedom of the hunt.

She has overcome the taboos related to her sexual identity, embraced her true self, and now lives her life to its fullest. Always one for adventure, she knows what she wants and isn’t afraid to get it!

This website is a celebration of the urbancougar lifestyle, the women who embody it, and the prey who love them for it!

(For those of you who don’t even know what a “cougar” is, click here for remedial slang education.)
The site has a feature called UrbanCougar of the Month. And ATL readers will be happy to learn that the current UC of the Month is a lawyer! Meet “Kelly” of Denver, Colorado:
urbancougar kelly.JPG
To read Kelly’s full profile, including a Q-and-A with this cougar-licious counselor, click here.
Does anyone have more information about Kelly — including, perhaps, her place of employment? If so, please drop us a line.
(For men in search of hot female lawyers, Denver appears to be where it’s at. The Mile High City boasts at least one other high-profile hottie of the legal profession.)
urbancougar of the month: Kelly [urbancougar.com]
Cougar [Urban Dictionary]

Golden Gate Bridge San Francisco Eumi Choi Eumi Choi Above the Law.jpgThis post is even more random than usual. But it’s Friday, and Mother Nature is going bonkers — a major snowstorm in the Midwest, an epic typhoon in the Philippines — so indulge us.
Some time ago, we characterized the U.S. Attorney’s Office in the Northern District of California (San Francisco) as “well-regarded.” But then John of The Legal Reader helpfully informed us that the office has slipped in recent years. He brought to our attention this fascinating feature, describing problems that have plagued the office under United States Attorney Kevin Ryan.
So we read the article, which was most enlightening. And after reading it, we were left with one conclusion:

EUMI CHOI IS FABULOUS.

Who is Eumi Choi? She’s First Assistant U.S. Attorney in the Northern District, the right-hand woman of U.S. Attorney Kevin Ryan. But it seems that, despite her nominal status as Ryan’s second-in-command, Choi is actually running the show, cracking the whip over the assistant U.S. attorneys while Ryan hides out in his office.
If someone were to make a movie about the N.D. Cal. office, Eumi Choi would be the “scene stealing” character. The role of Eumi would turn into a surprise star vehicle for Lucy Liu, en route to an improbable Oscar nomination.
We explain why Eumi is so yummy, after the jump.

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “How Yummy Is Eumi?”

britney spears britney_spears naked nude breasts above the law atl britney spears topless.JPGMidterm elections, consider yourselves upstaged. Pop princess Britney Spiers is divorcing her wastrel husband, Kevin Federline.
More details, from TMZ (which broke the story, and has a copy of the divorce petition (PDF)):

[T]he legal papers, filed today in Los Angeles County Superior Court, [cite] “irreconcilable differences.” In her petition, Spears asks for both legal and physical custody of the couple’s two children, one-year old Sean Preston and two-month old Jayden James, with Federline getting reasonable visitation rights.

As for money, sources tell TMZ the couple, who married in Oct. 2004, has an iron-clad prenup. Not surprisingly, Spears is waiving her right to spousal support. She’s also asking the judge to make each party pay their own attorney’s fees….

Spears has hired powerhouse celebrity divorce lawyer Laura Wasser, who has repped a number of celebs, including Angelina Jolie, Nick Lachey and Kiefer Sutherland. We’re told Reese Witherspoon and Ryan Phillippe asked Wasser to rep both of them in their split, but Wasser declined for personal reasons.

We’re all in favor of keeping marriages together. But this split may be for the best. K-Fed was bad news from the start.
If any of you have worked with or litigated against Spears’s attorney, Laura A. Wasser, and can tell us a little more about her, please drop us a line.
Britney Spears Files for Divorce [TMZ.com]
Britney Spears FINALLY Divorces K-Fed [Gawker]
Britney Spears Divorcing K-Fed, Immediately Begins Search For Next Bad Relationship [Defamer]
Britney Spears Files For Divorce, Quashing Further Use of ‘Spederline’ [Jossip]
Laura Allison Wasser bio [Martindale-Hubbell]
Divorcing Stars Pick This Group: Top Hollywood Divorce Lawyers [USA Today]

When we surfed over to the WSJ Law Blog a few minutes ago, quickly scanned the page, and saw the photo for this post, we thought it had to do with Yale Law School. But upon closer inspection, we learned we were wrong.

Instead, it was a post about Skadden Arps partner Sheila Birnbaum. Birnbaum, who heads Skadden’s Complex Mass Tort and Insurance Group, has a nickname reflecting her expertise: “The Queen of Toxic Torts.” The superstar litigatrix attended the Supreme Court oral arguments this morning in the Philip Morris punitive damages case.

So why did we think, for a few brief seconds, that the post was about Yale Law School? Here’s why:

sheila birnbaum harold koh harold hongju koh sheila l birnbaum.JPG

Sheila L. Birnbaum [Skadden]
Dean Harold Hongju Koh [Yale Law School]

Peter Lattman reports that Croesus-wealthy litigatrix Susan Loggans has put her Pacific Palisades mansion on sale for a pricy $26.9 million, three times what she paid for it.

Situated on two lots measuring approx. 2.5 usable acres this totally private and gated tennis court and equestrian estate is a paradise of its own. The home measures approx. 10,000 sq. ft. with 7 Bedrooms & 7 Bathrooms, extraordinary kitchen and a spectacular great room. The master has 2 large baths and walk-in closets with incredible views of the grounds which include enormous lawns, tennis court and pool. Across a bridge over its own year-round stream one will find a full orchard with plums.

The increased sales price reflects, in part, the additional 3,000 square feet of outdoor marble terraces added by the Loggans family.
Loggans is famous for litigation, but more often as a party than as an attorney. She sued the previous owner of her California home, an Austrian-American movie star named Arnold Schwarzenegger, calling the property a “nightmare.” One looks forward to the transfer disclosure statement Loggans will provide the lucky buyer. The Loggans-Schwarzenegger result is confidential, but Loggans had no luck in a lawsuit over a different real estate transaction; Chad Rogers (who works for Paris Hilton’s father) won $746,098.85 from Loggans over an allegedly unpaid commission and associated attorneys’ fees for an earlier sale of a Malibu beachfront home.
14209 Evans Road property listing [Realtor.com]
14209 Evans Road [Google Map]
Pumping Up Arnold’s House [Wall Street Journal ($)]
Arbitration demand: Loggans v. Schwarzenegger [The Smoking Gun]
“‘Schwarzenegger sold us a mouldy home for $8m’” [Telegraph (UK)]
“Paris Hilton’s Daddy Scores Big in the Los Angeles Superior Court” [press release]
Pricey Real Estate & the Law[WSJ Law Blog]
Susan Loggans web site

amy schulman.jpg* DLA Piper’s Amy Schulman (at right): Leading litigatrix, or Dianne Feinstein doppelganger? [WSJ Law Blog]
* “Eugene Volokh” on Boston Legal: the mystery revealed. Congrats on the shout-out, Professor Volokh! [Volokh Conspiracy]
* We enjoyed this. Or, to do our best Instapundit impression: HEH.
[Concurring Opinions]
* Another funny interview story, courtesy of David Bernstein. As for why he didn’t get an offer: Maybe he picked the wrong concealer? [Volokh Conspiracy]
* There’s still time left for you to vote: Who is the Paris Hilton of the federal judiciary? [ATL]
* There appears to be a void in the blogosphere where rumor-mongering about law school faculty moves ought to be. [Is That Legal?; Concurring Opinions]
Note: We’re happy to try and fill that void. So send us your tips, your juicy gossip about who in legal academia might be going where. The bigger the name, the better. If we receive a regular inflow of such info, we’ll make it a weekly feature.

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