Lunacy

For some of you, the bar exam starts tomorrow. Your friends at Above the Law — and our bar-related advertisers, including Kaplan PMBR and BarMax — wish you the best of luck.

If you’re looking for more review questions, check out our post from yesterday, based on Professor Laurence Tribe’s unfortunate incident at a Safeway supermarket. A few of you have already posted impressive responses, suggesting that you’re going to ace the big test.

But the Larry Tribe fact pattern would have been labeled “EASY.” Here’s something far more challenging, from writer-turned-lawyer Elizabeth Wurtzel, who explains:

When I was studying for the bar for the first time in New Haven, in my total frustration, I wrote a parody of a bar exam question, or may be of a Barbri question. I posted it on the Wall at YLS [Yale Law School's list-serv], and I am told that ever since it has been reposted every bar exam season.

I have gotten suggestions that I publish it, and a couple of people have actually attempted to answer it, which is crazy. In any case, do what you want with it.

It is hilarious, and insane, and it will make your head hurt — or explode. Check it out below….

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “A Bar Exam Parody / Hypothetical, Courtesy of Elizabeth Wurtzel”

There are a lot of angry job hunters in the legal marketplace right now, thanks to lots of debt and little in the way of prospects. They’re desperate, frustrated, and may be dangerous. The Great Recession has turned some of these poor legal puppies into Cujos.

In May, we wrote about a heated exchange between a Massachusetts law student and a potential lawyerly employer. The lawyer, Rose Clayton, had hesitations about hiring the law student as a paralegal and offered to hire him on a trial basis. When he objected, demanding a full-time offer instead, she laid out exactly what he had done wrong. That set him off and the conversation deteriorated into an exchange of unconstructive criticism. The law student, Jesse Clark, ended with this:

It’s amazing that the Ma Bar lets women practice law. Shouldn’t you be home cleaning and raising children? As for your practice, its just Bankruptcy. It’s not difficult, and many Petitioners file pro bono and get discharges.

Clayton posted the exchange online, redacting the student’s name, and Massachusetts Law Weekly picked up on it. And then we picked up on it. Jesse Clark responded on his blog and thus shed the cloak of anonymity.

Noah Schaffer at the Massachusetts Law Weekly’s Docket identified Clark in a second story, which led Clark to create a nude modeling profile for Schaffer.

After corresponding with Clark, my photo and phone number found their way into a Craigslist casual encounters ad. I deflated quite a few, um, hearts when I let the many callers know that it was a prank.

Then all was quiet on the digital terrorism front for over a month. Until this week. Rose Clayton became the victim of a nasty new prank…

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Laura Hall: banned for two years from all pubs and clubs in England

I’ve certainly been kicked out of a few bars in my life. I don’t think I’ve ever been officially “banned” from one, but there are certainly places that I’d probably not be welcomed back to. Getting banned from a couple of bars isn’t really a big deal. You’re probably not having enough fun if you’ve never run the risk of being banned from a particular watering hole.

But getting banned from every bar in an entire country? That is something special. The Daily Mail reports that a woman — a wee babe of 20 — has pulled off this amazing feat:

A woman has become the first person to be banned from buying or drinking alcohol anywhere in England and Wales.

Laura Hall, 20, was issued with a Drinking Banning Order – nicknamed Booze Asbos – which bars her from entering any pub, club, off-licence or bar.

The two-year order also bans Hall from buying alcohol at any other establishment or shop, carrying it in an unsealed container or drinking it in a public place.

A “Drinking Banning Order”? What the hell kind of totalitarian remedy is that?

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caution crazy people.jpgAttorneys and law students across the country have been on the receiving end of emails from a rabid activist named Leslie Brodie this month. Brodie is waging a crusade to “end racism/sexism in U.S. law firms” by starting a petition.
In a mass email about the petition, she directed her attack specifically at one firm, the small San Francisco-based Kerr & Wagstaffe. Brodie mentions founding partner James Wagstaffe, who is also an adjunct professor at UC Hastings Law, and points out “that out of 10 lawyers, all but one are white; out of seven partners, all but one are males; and all the associates are young and attractive white females.”
Virginia attorney Ken Lammers of Crim Law Blog was one of the many to receive the email. He checked out Kerr & Wagstaffe’s website and offered a measured and convincing defense of the firm, in part arguing that the female attorneys aren’t actually that hot. He also discovered the reason for Brodie’s attack on Wagstaffe:

As I write this, the petition has 13 whole “signatures”, 4 of which call out the author and 1 of which is the author threatening a disagreeing signatory with sanction by the law school. It’s the exchange between these two which clarified what’s actually going on here. I had thought that this was a non-hire who was striking back at the firm, but apparently it’s even more petty than that. This is about a bad grade which the author got from James Wagstaffe in a CivPro class. A BAD GRADE. A law firm, which by all appearances is filled with bright, capable people, is dragged through the mud over a grade. YOU’VE GOT TO BE KIDDING ME!

A Berkeley law student responded to the mass email by requesting removal from the mailing list, citing the CAN-SPAM Act — a perfectly reasonable request. But when you’re dealing with unhinged, anti-racist spammers, reason doesn’t often serve you well…

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “Crazy Spammer Maligns San Francisco Law Firm and Berkeley 3L”

tajudeen-oladiran.jpgTajudeen Oladiran is an Arizona attorney who is currently of counsel at Aguilera International Counsel. A Biglaw refugee, he spent a year at Greenberg Traurig, as well as a year working for the Arizona Attorney General’s Office.

Given those credentials, we were surprised that he would file one of the craziest motions we’ve come across here at Above The Law.

From the U.S. District Court of Arizona:

Taj crazy motion.jpg
It is a motion in a case that Tajudeen Oladiran and his wife filed against Suntrust Bank for racketeering. We gather from the motion that Oladiran was not pleased with the ruling by “the Dishonorable Susan R. Bolton” (as she’s identified in the caption). Oladiran wrote: “I just read your Order and I am very disappointed in the fact that a brainless coward like you is a federal judge.”

A lesson on how not to address the court, after the jump.

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “Motion of the Day: “We shall meet again you know where.””

Bank of America Merrill Lynch B of A.jpgCould the nomination of Judge Denny Chin (S.D.N.Y.) to the Second Circuit be derailed by his ruling in Chiscolm v. Bank of America?
Click on the link below to read about this lawsuit filed by an irate customer (or purported customer) of the banking giant.
Area Man Has One Month To Prove Why Bank Of America Owes Him 1,784 Billion, Trillion Dollars [Dealbreaker]

UConn Law Logo.JPGWho hasn’t “killed off a grandparent” in order to obtain an extension on a paper? I had a friend who went through six grandmothers in four years of college.
But one University of Connecticut law student is not joking around. As we understand it, an editor of the Connecticut Law Review received an email this morning from a rising 2L who is trying to write on to law review. The submission is due tomorrow, but the 2L is seeking an extension because of troubles back on the home front. The 2L pointed the law review editor to this article in the Hartford Courant, which allegedly concerns the 2L’s parents (one of them a local lawyer):

Police continue to negotiate with an armed man who they believe is holding his estranged wife hostage and who claimed that his house is wired with explosives.

We hope the 2L received that extension — and that everything turns out okay.
For students who do not have crazy situations like parental terrorism taking place at home, I imagine your requests for extensions are weak.
Update (9:15 PM): According to the Hartford Courant, the hostage has been safely released.
Update (11 PM): Not surprisingly, the 2L received the requested extension. All’s well that ends well.
Hostage Drama Unfolding In South Windsor [Hartford Courant]
Hostage Situation May Involve Hartford Lawyer [Connecticut Law Tribune]

Swine Flu law schools.JPGThere is little chance that the American experiment would have survived a serious outbreak of the bubonic plague. The Athenians fought a war while stricken with the plague. Granted, it didn’t go so well, but that’s not the point. But a couple of kids get a new strain of spring flu (which is at least as accurate of a name for it as “swine flu”) and people start losing it.

Of course, law students are nothing if not susceptible to mass hysteria. Take this message that students at Loyola – Los Angeles received:

Dear Students,

Please be advised that students will be permitted to wear breathing masks during an examination. If a student chooses to do so, he/she will be permitted to bring and use the mask at his/her seat in the examination room. This policy will remain in effect through the end of the 2009 Spring examination period. Thank you.

Office of the Registrar Loyola Law School

On the one hand, are people really wasting precious exam cramming time worrying about swine flu? Really?

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Ernest Murphy Judge Ernest B Murphy Above the Law blog.jpgBack in 2007, Judge Ernest B. Murphy won his libel case case against the Boston Herald. The Herald had reported that Murphy was soft on crime and, well, nobody puts Baby in the corner.
But winning just wasn’t enough for Judge Murphy. After he won he sent two threatening letters to Patrick Purcell, publisher of the Herald, on court stationery. The letters, which included the use of all-caps as pioneered by Chief Justice John Marshall, demanded that the Herald drop its appeal and hand deliver a check for half a million dollars more than the judgment, plus interest.
According to the Boston Globe, “Purcell testified that the letters were intimidating and looked like ransom notes.”
Yesterday, Murphy agreed to resign. Murphy claimed to have post-traumatic stress from his battle with the Herald. The Commission on Judicial Conduct had recommended a $25,000 fine, but they may amend their report in light of Murphy’s resignation.
We’d make a joke about how a judge could incur psychologically destructive stress from participating in a lawsuit, but we’re terrified that Murphy will sue us under the ADA.
Judge who sued Herald agrees to leave bench [Boston Globe via WSJ Law Blog]
Earlier: Murphy v. Boston Herald: Some Beantown Benchslappery

Florida gator alligator Above the Law blog.jpgWhat is it about Florida that causes its lawyers and litigants to misbehave so egregiously? Just last week, the Florida Supreme Court sanctioned colorful attorney Jack Thompson. And now they’ve expressed their displeasure (PDF) with pro se litigant Julio Mora.
What did Mr. Mora do to upset the court? From its opinion:

Mora has filed pro se pleadings containing scandalous and obscene language. Specifically, in his “Petition to Inhibit Jurisdiction From this Very Supreme Court of Injustice,” Mora maintained that through its show cause proceedings with DOC, the Court has proven itself “to be a pack of incompetent cowards, without balls, testicles, courage or valor.” Further, Mora urged this Court to

“take this case and the ultimate decision, if ever, and please shovel it to the chief justice and every other justice’s a**hole, in order to have a common place to store the justices’ crap, together with the justice crap from their’s mind, properly disposed through the sewer system, in order to prevent the contaminants to reach the citizen of Florida, and also kiss Julio Mora’s the idiot seeking justice, kiss his a**hole every time the justice will retire going to their den. . . . Please kiss my a** one more time.”

The court declined to grant Mora the requested relief. Instead, it sanctioned him, directing the clerk of court to reject any future filings from Mora “unless signed by a member of The Florida Bar.”
In a court of law, it’s the parties who do the ass-kissing — not the judges.
Mora v. McNeil (PDF) [Supreme Court of Florida]

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