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We expect judges to not let their personal opinions influence their judicial decisions. But it’s silly to expect judges to be automatons with no feelings. They hurt, they cry — and just like everybody else, they get angry when they have to deal with assholes.

Sadly being an asshole isn’t a crime, and so one Canadian judge just had to suck it up and let a Canadian junior hockey player charged with assault go free. But not before the judge gave the defendant a little piece of his mind. The CBC reports (gavel bang: Deadspin):

Junior hockey player Chris Doyle was found not guilty of assault Friday, but received some harsh words from P.E.I. Judge John Douglas.

“If he was charged with being a colossal asshole, I would find him guilty,” said Douglas, chief judge of the provincial court.

“Of assault causing bodily harm, I find him not guilty.”

Make no mistake. Judge Douglas was right to point out that Chris Doyle was a giant douchebag…

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Fashion don'ts

Last week the Chicago Bar Association held a What Not To Wear Fashion Show [PDF]. The announcement for the event essentially promised a Project Runway for law students, with “guest judges and fashion industry experts” to critique law students selections for “professional attire.”

We imagined 1L women teetering down the walkway in Victoria’s Secret skirt suits and hooker heels, and 2L men sporting scruff and pinstripes, and the judges snarkily lecturing them on proper Esquire attire.

So we rounded up two legal bloggers in the Chicago area and asked them to attend and report back. We sent Legally Fabulous — a 3L who “often dies a little on the inside at the things she sees her classmates wearing for interviews” — and Attractive Nuisance, a Chicago associate who writes for ExitStrategy.

Attractive Nuisance called the event “How To Dress Like A Lawyer As Told By Some Women Haters, Old Men And Random Law Students.” Legally Fabulous was most impressed by the advice from Professor Maureen Collins of John Marshall Law School:

[She] had some of the best quotes of the night, including:

  • “The interview world is no place for a cheap, ugly tie.”
  • “I shouldn’t know anything about your underwear… bra straps are meant to be hidden”
  • “Khakis were invented for men who can’t match clothes”
  • “Maybe you bought your suit at Express or somewhere… and you bent over to get a Danish and I can see your tramp stamp.”

It’s hard for us to imagine a law professor uttering the words tramp stamp — a derogatory term for a tattoo on a woman’s mid-lower back. But after hearing Clarence Thomas say “TTT,” we suppose anything is possible.

After high school, one should throw out all clothes purchased at Express. Other tips for the fashion clueless, after the jump.

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(If you have a tramp stamp, it may already be too late)

Let’s take a brief break from covering people leaving the Supreme Court and potential replacements, and focus on somebody who is not going anywhere any time soon. In a sports-centric interview with the Philadelphia Daily News, Justice Samuel Alito goes into some depth about his love for the game of baseball and the Philadelphia Phillies.

You know it’s a good interview if I’m covering a right-leaning Justice who likes the Phillies. It’s not easy to write with tears in your eyes. But Alito makes it worthwhile by showing us a little bit of his personal life:

On the shelves are a Phillies cap, several framed pictures depicting various Phillies players, autographed baseballs, a book on the 1950 Phillies Whiz Kids and other Phillies-related memorabilia.

Justice Alito’s work couldn’t be more serious. The decisions he participates in have an enormous impact on the country. Baseball is his escape. And the Phillies have always been his favorite team.

Well, Alito is far more respectable than the last Phillies fan who graced these pages.

We’ve noted that baseball is such a natural fit with the judicial process. Alito also gives us the scoop on the favorite teams of other SCOTUS Justices:

Unfortunately I had a bet with Justice [Sonia] Sotomayor about the outcome of the World Series. She’s a Yankees fan. Justice [Antonin] Scalia is a Yankees fan. So we had a bet, cheesesteaks vs. Nathan’s hot dogs, and I had to provide Nathan’s hot dogs.

Justice [Stephen] Breyer is a Red Sox fan and Justice [John Paul] Stevens is a Cubs fan. He claims to have been present when Babe Ruth called his shot [in the 1932 World Series] at Wrigley Field. [Smiling] Although about 200,000 people claim to have been in attendance at that game, I trust him that he actually was.

What about John “The Umpire” Roberts? Meh, he probably just roots for a well-played game.

Alito also has some thoughts on the great baseball debates on our time. What would he do if he had a Hall of Fame vote?

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Ed. note: Law Shucks focuses on life in, and after, BigLaw, including by tracking layoffs, bonuses, and laterals. Above the Law is pleased to bring you this weekly column, which analyzes news at the world’s top law firms.

Law-firm layoffs have fallen from a peak of 3,682 in March ’09 to 164 in March ’10. Although firms continue to lay people off, firms are increasingly looking for alternative ways to manage their finances. The Law Shucks “This Week in Layoffs” column had evolved to include those alternatives.

Now, we’re taking the next step and expanding the scope further in this new column. We’ll continue with recaps of layoffs and the related economic events (salaries, start dates, PPP, etc), but will also cover a broader range of events in BigLaw.

BigLaw is slow to change, though. After the jump, we kick off the new column with the old stalwart: layoffs.

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Dawn Johnsen gives up on OLC

* After a yearlong hold-up, Dawn Johnsen withdraws her nomination to the Office of Legal Counsel. [Huffington Post]

* There’s been so much Stevens retirement coverage that new angles are rare. But this piece is fresh: on what the High Court now lacks. [The Root via Concurring Opinions]

* Class action against Texas judge for requiring litigants to file via Lexis Nexis. [Courthouse News Service]

* Wilmer Hale co-managing partner William Lee is the first Asian-American selected to serve on the Harvard Corporation. [Boston Globe; Harvard Crimson]

* Florida man sued for $15,000 for negative eBay review. [Florida Today]

* The New York Times speaks out about law school clinics. [New York Times]

Today I attended the Future of Education Conference, sponsored by Harvard Law School and New York Law School. New York Law School hosted a pretty interesting event. The fact schools as different as HLS and NYLS were coming together to host it (part two of the conference will be at HLS this October) is illustrative of the breadth of legal educators who are trying to deal with the declining “value proposition” of going to law school.

I’ll be doing a couple of posts on today’s conference over the next few days (you can check out my real time tweets from the event @atlblog). But I did want to share some thoughts from United Technologies‘ General Counsel, Chester Paul Beach and Gillian Hadfield, Professor of Law and Economics at USC.

Speaking during the “Apocalypse Now” session, Beach stood up and told approximately 75 law school deans and legal educators from around the country:

“We don’t allow first or second year associates to work on any of our matters without special permission, because they’re worthless.”

[Correction: The quote below has been changed from an earlier version.]

Later, on a separate panel, the USC professor pointed out how difficult that assessment was for graduating 3Ls.:

“What did Paul Beach say? “They’re worthless”.  It’s awful, it’s really really awful”

It is pretty awful for 3Ls as they prepare to set out into the market.

So the panelists pulled no punches, but did the educators get the message?

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(And You Should Be Worried Too)”

* Do trust them foreigners. [Legal Blog Watch]

* Can you be in virtual contempt of court? [Threat Level/Wired]

* Is Manhattan DA Cy Vance rehearsing for Undercover Boss? [Gothamist]

* STD Secure. [Instapundit]

* Toyota plaintiffs have class. [Los Angeles Times]

* Speaking of Stevens… [Legal Times]

* Speaking of Supreme Court Justices retiring… Jimmy Smits will play the fictional one in new Conan O’Brien-produced legal show, Justice. [TV.com]

* Pay your interns and law clerks. [Lawyerist]

Hey Biglaw partners, if you’re switching products to please your client, you may be wasting your time. Last week, we reported that Day Pitney is getting rid of all the free Cokes in its office in favor of client Pepsi-Co’s products.

This was disappointing news around the firm, since according to our survey, 78% of lawyers prefer Coke to Pepsi.

As we recounted anecdotally in that post, Day Pitney is not alone. Many firms have been known to switch products to please clients. One former Biglaw type who is now in-house says, though, that product loyalty is inconsequential.

For the record, I am now in house with a very large company and I have absolutely NO expectation whatsoever that any of our firms will require their staff and attorneys to use our products, and only our products. In fact, I would see a move like the one taken by Day Pitney as nothing but full, balls-to-the-wall pandering. Forget what soda you stock at meetings. How about you do good work and stop overbilling me? THAT’S what matters. Idiots.

Is this in-house lawyer’s analysis flat?

UPDATE: Others say Pepsi will can those who don’t drink their kool-aid, er, their Sierra Mist

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Potential Supreme Court nominees?

For weeks, the media laundry machine has been circulating news of Supreme Court Justice John Paul Stevens’s impending retirement. Now that the buzzer has gone off on that, it’s time to switch to the next cycle: speculation as to who President Barack Obama will nominate to replace him.

President Obama has been dragging his feet in his appointment of federal judges. We are relieved to hear that he is going to pick up the pace for announcing his Supreme Court pick. ABC News reports that the White House is prepared — thanks to Stevens’s public pondering — and that the announcement will come “within weeks.” Which isn’t really very helpful at all. Two weeks? Four weeks? Twelve weeks?

BLT reports on Obama’s speech from the Rose Garden today:

“While we cannot replace Justice Stevens’ experience or wisdom, I will seek someone in the coming weeks with similar qualities — an independent mind, a record of excellence and integrity, a fierce dedication to the rule of law, and a keen understanding of how the law affects the daily lives of the American people,” Obama said. “It will also be someone who, like Justice Stevens, knows that in a democracy, powerful interests must not be allowed to drown out the voices of ordinary citizens.”

Please make it fast, Obama. We’re ready to move on to the confirmation hearing cycle!

Let’s speculate until then, though…

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It’s a talk, it’s a party, it’s an open bar, it’s an opportunity to meet and mingle with the ATL editors, law firm associates, and law students. Can you think of a better way to spend a Tuesday night?

We’ve still got space for the Summer Associate Kick-Off Party, hosted by Practical Law Company. The event is this Tuesday, April 13th, from 6:30 p.m. to 10 p.m. at Amity Hall, (80 West 3rd Street). David Lat, Elie Mystal and Kashmir Hill will be hanging out and offering advice on the Do’s & Don’ts Of Being A Summer Associate.

First Do: Take advantage of networking opportunities. (And open bars.)

If you’re a law student or lawyer, you’re invited. You can RSVP for the event by emailing us at rsvp@abovethelaw.com, with your name and your law school or law firm.

We hope to see you there.

Summer Associate Kick-Off Party [Practical Law Company]

The weather is seasonal in New York City today, but for most of this week we’ve experienced a little heat wave. Near record high temperatures were recorded throughout the tri-state area.

Apparently, Cardozo Law School was completely unprepared for this spate of summer weather, and it nearly ruined the school’s “OCI Preview” event for 1Ls desperate to snag jobs next recruiting season. Multiple tipsters reported variations on the same theme. I’ll use a version that doesn’t involve cursing: “I pay over $40,000 in tuition yet my law school can’t even turn the A/C on when I’m trying to network for a job.”

It was so bad that Cardozo had to send around an apology to the students for making them network in a sauna. And according to the email, Cardozo truly couldn’t figure out how to simply turn the A/C “on”…

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I have always held a special place in my heart for Georgetown University. I was born on campus at Georgetown University Hospital. My father received his J.D. from the Law Center, and I am an alumnus of Georgetown Prep. I was also very lucky to attend Hoya basketball games as a child and watch Patrick Ewing dominate the college ranks.

Now I have another reason to love Georgetown: Jim Michalowitz. You see, Georgetown University Law Center is one of the few schools with an e-discovery blog. I have highlighted it before on Gabe’s Guide. So you can imagine how thrilled I was to discover that Jim had actually taken time out of his busy schedule to write a response to my ATL post that was highly critical of the legal outsourcing of e-discovery work to non-attorneys here and overseas.

With the title, “You Can’t Trust Them Foreigners – Outsourcing Document Review,” it’s of little surprise that Mr. Michalowitz — advisory board member of Georgetown University’s CLE e-Discovery Institute, Six Sigma enthusiast, and proponent of foreign legal outsourcing — took a different take on the issue.

And, you know what? He was so right. I just don’t trust them foreigners. I didn’t know it until I read his post, but it all makes perfect sense now.

Here are some of Mr. Michalowitz’s conclusions about my original arguments against outsourcing legal work to non lawyers:

  • My position on legal outsourcing was extreme
  • Using foreign or non-attorneys would equal a poor or lower quality work product
  • Foreign lawyers might as well be considered non- or “not-real” lawyers

Mr. Michalowitz brings up some good points; however, he either has some fundamental misunderstandings of — or is falsely characterizing — my views on legal outsourcing. So, I thought that I would take the time to nicely clarify any misconceptions he might have. Oh, and by nicely, I mean, I am coming like the Clash of the Titans, because I am about to release the Kraken, after the jump.

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