I knew the moment would come when I’d have to watch a full hour of Nancy Grace and I was not looking forward to it. The daytime anchors and hosts had been mere fluffers for Nancy Grace’s performance at night and there were multiple teases to her show throughout the day. For Nancy Grace is the shrieking televangelist of something called victims’ rights. In her worldview, there are saintly victims and black-hatted criminals who roam the earth, preying on the canonized. Previously, I knew she had been criticized for picking the wrong saints. While the Duke Lacrosse case had made fools of many, very few had been as brazen and unapologetic as Ms. Grace.
This, of course, made something like Caylee Anthony’s tragic death a sort of no-lose proposition for Nancy Grace. Caylee is dead and she’ll always be dead and all the wild conjecture in the world won’t change that heartbreaking fact. I planned to watch three solid hours of Headline News last night, starting with the full-frontal assault of Nancy Grace and giving myself two solid hours of cool down with Dr. Drew and Joy Behar.
So I sat up straight on my couch, turned the channel back to Headline News, and steadied myself for the onslaught….
On Sunday night, I was sitting on my couch eating Chicken McNuggets®, when Lat Skyped™ me. The following is a faithful transcript of our conversation.
Lat: Hey Juggs, I’ve got an assignment for you. Wait, why aren’t you wearing a shirt? Me: Why are you wearing a top hat? L: Touché. Listen, I have an idea for a pretty delicious story. Did you read that article in the Times about Headline News’s coverage of the Casey Anthony trial? M: I only read Mad Magazine. L: Okay, well, listen. Is there any way you can put on a shirt? M: *mumbles angrily and stomps off camera to find a respectable shirt* L: Okay, cool. Listen, that post you did about Jose Baez got some deliciously high page views. This trial is apparently through-the-roof popular and I think I know what you can do to cover it. M: Go on. L: I want you to… wait for it… spend a day watching Headline News. You watch the coverage, scribble down some thoughts and… presto! We’ve got ourselves a delicious post. M: Do I have to wear a shirt? L: Jesus, what the f**k is it with you and shirts? No. God, I don’t care. Wear whatever you want. Just watch TV and write down your thoughts. You think you can do that? M: Sure. I’ll be like Marlow, exploring the Heart of Darkness. L: That’s another thing. Your random literary references. They barely make sense and I’m pretty sure you haven’t read any books. M: Your top hat’s stupid. L: Okay, just do this. Ciao. M: Seacrest out.
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…
Proving your case requires more than a screenshot.
The practice of “oversharing” on social networks has been a boon for law enforcement. Investigations regularly involve checking out people’s Facebook, MySpace, and LinkedIn profiles. Thus, it’s probably unwise to post about your involvement in a crime. Or about threatening a witness set to testify against your boyfriend.
While investigating Antoine Griffin, a murder suspect in Maryland, police checked out his girlfriend’s MySpace wall, where she had unwisely written (note that “Boozy” is Griffin’s nickname): “FREE BOOZY!!!! JUST REMEMBER SNITCHES GET STITCHES!! U KNOW WHO YOU ARE!!”
The “veiled” message was a little too transparent. During the trial, prosecutors used this as evidence that Boozy’s girlfriend, Jessica Barber, had intimidated one of their key “snitches” witnesses, affecting his testimony. They introduced a print-out of Barber’s MySpace wall into evidence. Boozy was busted and found guilty of the 2005 shooting. Seems like an open and shut case, right?
But Griffin appealed, in part because the prosecution had not proven that it was really his girlfriend’s MySpace profile, or that it was really something she had written. The Maryland Court of Appeals was sympathetic….
Look, Touro Law students and alumni, please don’t get mad at me. I’m just the messenger.
The Washington Post is reporting that a D.C. Superior Court judge, William Jackson, declared a mistrial in a murder case on Friday so that the defendant could fire his lawyer. The attorney, Joseph Rakofsky, a 2009 graduate of Touro Law School, showed “numerous signs” that he “lacked knowledge of proper trial procedure,” according to the judge.
If you are wondering why people sometimes make fun of Touro and other very low-ranked law schools, it’s because this kind of stuff is straight-up embarrassing. Good schools try to not let people like this into to law school, and they certainly don’t let them depart so poorly trained.
But most damning of all is that Joseph Rakofsky doesn’t even seem to understand how totally embarrassing this result is for him. The kid is bragging about the result, on Facebook…
We really don’t like writing about murders, suicides, and murder suicides here on Above the Law. They are always sad, the loss of human life is always tragic, and it’s really hard to be funny/snarky/edgy when people have died.
That said, we have to go where the news takes us, and so we press on today with a roundup of people in the legal community who recently met untimely ends. A Department of Justice lawyer took his own life, and an office manager for Townsend and Townsend and Crew allegedly killed her estranged husband, before turning the gun on herself…
Clare Lenore Stoudt, a 35-year-old mother of five, was found dead in her home over the weekend. Stoudt was a tax associate at Pillsbury Winthrop. According to the ABA Journal, authorities believe that Stoudt may have been the victim of a murder-suicide:
The father of her three youngest children, Reginald Van Graves, 49, also was found apparently shot to death in the Howard County home, and a gun was in the vicinity, authorities say. A custody case over the three children, aged 2, 5 and 7, had begun less than a week earlier in Howard County Circuit Court.
The Howard County Times reports that police say the deaths may have been a murder-suicide. Autopsies have not yet been completed, however, and the investigation has not concluded.
Christine Kearns, managing partner for Pillsbury’s D.C. office, released the following statement for the firm….
Ed. note: This post is by “The Gobbler,” one of the two writers under consideration to join Morning Dockette as a Morning Docket writer. As always, we welcome your thoughts in the comments.
I was asked to cover the lawsuit filed yesterday by the ACLU against the Obama administration regarding its policy of keeping a “kill list” and, to a larger extent, following up on it. Ashby Jones does a workmanlike summary of the basics here, providing links to background, discussion, and the complaint. Rather than rehash the facts, or lead a discussion of the latest embarrassingly naked moment in America’s long history of civil-rights-shrinkage during dips in the wartime pool, I thought I’d get creative. Sorry.
What follows is a screenplay depicting the rocky relationship between Mr. Anwar al-Aulaqi (pictured), the first American citizen added to the CIA’s naughty list; the ACLU, which, on Anwar’s behalf, alleges that the list and any action thereon violates several sections of the Constitution and international law; and the American Government. As the title suggests, it’s based on the plot and dialogue from Wedding Crashers. Christopher Walken will play the role of America, with Keir O’Donnell (a/k/a “Todd”) playing the role of Anwar. The supporting cast, in order of appearance: Vince Vaughn as ACLU, Owen Wilson as Center for Constitutional Rights, Ellen Dow (think “Rapper’s Delight” in The Wedding Singer) as Righty Conservative, Isla Fisher as Treasury, Bradley Cooper as District Court and Rachel McAdams as Court of Appeals.
If you stick to the coasts, you might not have heard of Barnes & Thornburg. But it’s one of the biggest and best firms in Indiana. Unfortunately today we bring them up because of tragedy. A partner at the firm, Mary Jane Frisby, was found dead in her home. She appears to be the victim of a murder-suicide carried out by her husband. The ABA Journal reports:
The body of Mary Jane Frisby, 44, a former partner at the Indianapolis-based Barnes & Thornburg, was found in her home, the apparent victim of homicide.
Police discovered her body after her estranged husband, David Frisby, shot himself at a parking garage near the firm, which she’d recently left, reports Channel 6 in Indianapolis.
Weeks before the murder, David Frisby lashed out at lawyers from Barnes & Thornburg…
In Friday’s Non-Sequiturs, while linking to an interesting article about a man who served 27 years in prison for a rape he did not commit, I used an intentionally inflammatory blurb:
Would Michael Green, exonerated of rape charges by DNA evidence, be worth $2.2 million today if he hadn’t gone to prison? Just asking.
Judging from some of the comments, it seems that this blurb offended some of you. If so, I apologize.
(But I should also note that part of the blogger’s job is to troll provoke readers, intellectually and emotionally. Elie is tasked with baiting provoking the conservatives, and I’m in charge of provoking the liberals. If we don’t offend you every now and then, we’re not doing our jobs.)
In making my excessively irreverent quip, I was trying to get at a fairly serious question: How can we put a price on a man spending years behind bars for a crime he did not commit?
The holiday season is upon us, and yet again, you have no idea what to get for the fickle lawyer in your life. We’re here to help. Even if your bonus check hasn’t arrived yet, any one of the gifts we’ve highlighted here could be a worthy substitute until your employer decides to make it rain.
We’ve got an eclectic selection for you to choose from, so settle in by that stack of documents yet to be reviewed and dig in…
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 six years. You can reach them by email: firstname.lastname@example.org.
We currently have a very exciting and rare type of in-house opening in China at one of the world’s leading internet and social media companies. Our client is looking for an IP Transactional / TMT / Licensing attorney with 2 to 6 years experience. The new hire will be based in Shenzhen or Shanghai. Mandarin is not required (deal documentation will be in English) but is preferred. A solid reason to be in China and a commitment to that market is required of course. This new hire will likely be US qualified (but could also be qualified in UK or other jurisdictions) and with experience and training at a top law firm’s IP transactional / TMT practice and could be currently at a law firm or in-house. Qualified candidates currently Asia based, Europe based or US based will be considered. The new hire’s supervisors in this technology transactions in-house team are very well regarded US trained IP transactional lawyers, with substantial experience at Silicon Valley firms. The culture and atmosphere in this in-house group and the company in general is entrepreneurial, team oriented, and the work is cutting edge, even for a cutting edge industry. The upside of being in an important strategic in-house position in this fast growing and world leading internet company is of the “sky is the limit” variety. Its a very exciting place to be in China for a rising IP transactional lawyer in our opinion, for many reasons beyond the basic info we can share here in this ad / post. This is a special A+ opportunity.
If your firm is in ‘go’ mode when it comes to recruiting lateral partners with loyal clients, then take this quiz to see how well you measure up. Keep track of your ‘yes’ and ‘no’ responses.
1. Does your firm have a clearly defined strategy of practice groups that are priorities of growth for your office? Nothing gets done by random chance, but with a clear vision for the future. Identify the top practice areas for which you wish to add lateral partners. Seek input from practice group leaders and get specifics on needs, outcomes, and ideal target profiles.
2. In addition to clarifying your firm’s growth strategy, are you still open to the hire of a partner outside of your plan? I’ve made several placements that fit this category. The partner’s practice was not within the strategic growth plan of my client, but once the two parties started talking with each other, we all saw how it could indeed be a seamless fit. Be open to “Opportunistic Hires.” You never know where your next producing partner might come from, so you have to be open to it. I will be the first to admit that there is a quirky element of randomness in recruiting.
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