This episode gives new meaning to the term “flip phone.” A cell phone that went off during court proceedings caused one judge to, well, flip out. From the NYT’s City Room blog:
The next time you pass through the city court system in Niagara Falls, N.Y., remember to turn your cellphone off.
Today, the Commission on Judicial Conduct recommended the removal of a judge in Niagara Falls City Court who had, what the commission’s chairman, Raoul L. Felder, called, “two hours of inexplicable madness” when a cellphone rang in his courtroom.
Specifically, on the morning of March 11, 2005, the judge, Robert M. Restaino, was presiding over a slate of domestic violence cases when he heard a phone ring in his courtroom. He told the roughly 70 people in the courtroom, according to the commission’s report, that “every single person is going to jail in this courtroom” unless the phone was turned over.
Look, we hate cellphones ringing at inappropriate times as much as the next guy. But was Judge Restaino’s reaction a tad over the top? We suggest — with respect, Your Honor — that you’re a few beeps short of a ringtone.
Read what happened next, after the jump.
I enjoy my work as an employment lawyer for the simple fact that each case is different and “you can’t make this stuff up.”
An article in today’s The Advocate of Stamford, Connecticut, proves that theory correct. [It's] about a female town of Stamford employee who was disciplined for allegedly harassing a male supervisor, [and] contains the sorts of details that you really can’t make up.
According to the article, the alleged harassment by the female employee included sending an e-mail with lyrics from a Barenaked Ladies song.
Considering the weirdness of this incident, of course it happened in a law office. The victim of the purported harassment was Stamford’s Director of Legal Affairs.
The lyric that got the employee in trouble — “I knew you before the fall of Rome,” from the song “It’s All Been Done” — is surprising. But this case, involving a female employee allegedly harassing her male supervisor, is not your run-of-the-mill harassment incident.
It would be much more probable for a male supervisor to harass a female subordinate — with a song lyric like, for example, “Hike up your skirt a little more, and show your world to me” (Dave Matthews Band, “Crash”). Report: Female Employee Uses “Barenaked Ladies” to Harass Male Supervisor [Connecticut Employment Law Blog] City disciplines female employee for harassing male supervisor [Stamford Advocate]
How have we not heard of her before? She’s fabulous! And for reasons that will soon become obvious, a Pennsylvania state court jurist, Luzerne County Judge Ann Lokuta, is today’s Judge of the Day.
From the Citizens Voice:
A former intern of Luzerne County Judge Ann Lokuta testified tonight the jurist called her a tramp for wearing a sleeveless shirt to work.
Rebecca Sammon took the stand in Lokuta’s misconduct trial and described another incident where Lokuta yelled at her for being nice on the phone.
Awesome. And there’s more:
Prothonotory Jill Moran testified lawyers got yelled at for clicking pens or writing too loudly in Lokuta’s courtroom. Prothonotary clerk Maura Cusick said Lokuta was either a good judge or a wicked judge.
A dichotomy couldn’t be more false: a wicked judge IS a good judge. The Honorable Ann Lokuta is a delicious judicial diva.
[Ed. note: Yes, we just learned what "prothonotary" means too. See here.]
More obscure terms for judicial staff members, after the jump.
It’s me, Ernie — Nebraska state senator Ernie Chambers. And I’m suing your divine ass! From the AP:
The defendant in a state senator’s lawsuit is accused of causing untold death and horror and threatening to cause more still. He can be sued in Douglas County, the legislator claims, because He’s everywhere.
State Sen. Ernie Chambers sued God last week. Angered by another lawsuit he considers frivolous, Chambers says he’s trying to make the point that anybody can file a lawsuit against anybody.
Chambers says in his lawsuit that God has made terroristic threats against the senator and his constituents, inspired fear and caused “widespread death, destruction and terrorization of millions upon millions of the Earth’s inhabitants.”
And he pledged allegiance to Al-Qaeda, and microwaved a few pooches. Jonathan Lee Riches, holla!
What relief is Chambers seeking? The WSJ Law Blog reports:
The lawsuit seeks a permanent injunction against God, ordering him to cease certain harmful activities. Chambers asked the court to waive personal-service requirement. Because God is omniscient, he argues, he will have actual knowledge of the action.
And you thought the $54 million pants lawsuit was crazy. If God’s deposition ends up being taken, can someone ask him about the proper construction of this contractual provision?
P.S. Props to the AP reporter who conferred a Jesus-like halo upon Senator Chambers. You win the prize for Most Creative Use of an Electric Fan as a Background Element.
[AP via WSJ Law Blog]
Federal prisoner Jonathan Lee Riches, whose “$63,000,000,000.00 Billion dollar” lawsuit against Michael Vick was discussed in these pages last month, has a new celebrity athlete in his sights. From a tipster:
Got to think you’ve seen this by now: the guy suing Michael Vick for a bazillion dollars or whatever it is now realizes that the real culprit is Barry Bonds. See here.
Question: Where can we file amicus briefs on these?
More description of Riches’s latest Complaint, alleging “Fraud Against Mankind” and “Batman and Identity Robbin,” from the Smoking Gun:
Riches, who is doing a decade in prison for fraud, is at it again, this time filing a loony — though quite funny — complaint again Barry Bonds, baseball commissioner Bud Selig, and Hank Aaron’s bat.
In his lawsuit, Riches weaves an intricate conspiracy theory involving television ratings, steroids, the cracking of the Liberty Bell, Colombian narco-terrorists, and secretly recorded conversations for which journalists Robert Novak and Judith Miller have transcripts.
Sounds like the plot to Syriana or Babel. Might Riches — a/k/a “Secured Party” d/b/a “The White Suge Knight” — have a future as a Hollywood screenwriter?
As it turns out, Jonathan Lee Riches is an old hand at crazy lawsuits — a veritable pro at proceeding pro se. More after the jump.
In case you’re wondering what happened to the litigation support guy at Quinn Emanuel, who sent around an office-wide email reprimanding an associate for allegedly rude treatment, here’s an update:
The lit support guy got his walking papers almost immediately. The litigation associate to whom he directed the email was baffled by the entire event.
Apparently, he just told the guy that there was a mistake and that it needed to be fixed ASAP. Knowing this associate pretty well, I say it’s pretty inconceivable that he would treat someone like a “dog,” or even unprofessionally.
So maybe the associate didn’t do anything wrong, and the litigation support guy was just a bit unhinged — a beleaguered support staff member, on the verge of a nervous breakdown. Cf.The Patton Boggs librarian.
Since the litigation support guy got fired over his email, we hope he derived a lot of satisfaction from sending it. Earlier: ATL Practice Pointers: Be Nice to the Support Staff
Speaking for ourselves, we’d think that accepting advice on the bar exam from anonymous strangers over the internet is like getting on the express train to Bandyland.
But some of you disagree. Here are two requests we’ve received recently:
“I am currently one of the thousands of students frantically studying for the bar exam. One of the things that help me keep calm is hearing about the bar exam studying strategies of others and their stories about the exam itself. Would you, perhaps, consider doing such a post?”
“Can you post a string for help with the NY bar specifically? Especially Essay help or NY Multiple choice.”
We’re accommodating people here at Above the Law. So here you go: an open thread for sharing bar exam tips and stories (which have already started surfacing on other recent posts).
To everyone taking the bar next week: Good luck, from your friends at ATL!
Try, try, try, try, try, try, try, try, try, try, try, try, and try again. And maybe the 14th time will be the charm!
For those of you freaking out over the bar exam next week, chillax. You will probably pass. If you don’t pass this time, surely you’ll pass the next time. Or the time after that.
You’ll be just fine — as long as your name isn’t “Paulina Bandy.” From the Orange County Register:
Paulina Bandy couldn’t fail the state bar exam again. Not after she failed 13 times before.
Some people complain that we’re elitist. So we apologize for asking: What the hell is UP with this woman?
(Is Paulina Bandy the child of a prominent politician? They seem to be jinxed when it comes to the bar exam.)
If you feel sorry for non-top-tier law school graduates who can’t land good jobs, just think — things could be worse. Much worse:
Paulina Bandy couldn’t fail the state bar exam again. Not after she had spent tens of thousands to attend law school. Not after she put her husband Jon Gomez through the ringer for so many years. Not after the debt she piled up forced her family to move into a 365-square-foot home.
Anywhere outside the island of Manhattan, that’s simply unacceptable.
More discussion, after the jump.
Professor Joel P. Trachtman (JD Harvard Law School) has developed a unique, practical guide to help lawyers analyze, argue, and write effectively.
The Tools of Argument: How the Best Lawyers Think, Argue, and Win is a highly readable 200-page book, available for about $10 in paperback or e-book. Chapters focus on foundational principles in legal argument: procedure, interpretation of contracts and statutes, use of evidence, and more. The material covered is taught only implicitly in law school. Yet, when up-and-coming attorneys master these straightforward tools, they will think and argue like the best lawyers.
For most attorneys, time spent managing the books is a necessary evil at best. Yet it is undeniably a crucial aspect of running a successful practice. With that in mind, we invite you to view or download a free webinar by Above the Law and our friends at Clio to learn how to better manage your finances.
Take this opportunity to learn what it takes to streamline your accounting and get the most out of your time. The webinar agenda:
● The basics of accounting for lawyers.
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● Steps to prepare your tax return for your firm’s income.
Do not miss this crucial chance to optimize your accounting practices. Save time and get back to billing!
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.
Please note that Evan Jowers and Robert Kinney are still in Hong Kong and will stay FOR THE REMAINDER OF THIS WEEK. We still have a handful of available slots for meetings with our Asia Chronicles fans. If we have not been in touch lately, reach out and let us know when we could meet! There is no need for an agenda at all. Most of our in-person meetings on these trips are with folks who understand that improving a legal practice through lateral hiring is an information-driven process that takes time to handle correctly.
Regarding trends in lateral US associate hiring in Hong Kong, we of course keep much of what we know off of this blog. Based on placement revenue, though, Kinney is having one of our most successful years ever in Asia. We are helping a number of our law firm clients with M&A, fund formation, cap markets, project finance, FCPA and disputes openings. These are very specific needs in many cases, so a conversation with us before jumping in may be helpful. As always, we like to be sure to get the maximum number of interviews per submission, using a well-informed, highly targeted, and selective approach, taking into account short, medium and long-term career aims.
Making a well informed decision during a job search is easier said than done – the information we provide comes from 10 years of being the market leader in US attorney placements at the top tier firms in Asia. There is no substitute for having known a hiring partner since he/she was an associate or for having helped a partner grow his or her practice from zip to zooming, and this is happily where we stand today – with years of background information on just about every relevant person in all the markets we serve, and most especially in Hong Kong/China/Greater Asia. So get in touch and get a download from us this week if we can fit it in, or soon in any case!